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North Korea mobilizes after devastating floods kill at least 133

12 September 2016 17:00

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North Korea is making recovery efforts after a devastating flood hit the northeast of the country, killing at least 133 people.

According to North Korean state media, the Pyongyang government was working urgently to re-open roads and was distributing relief goods and building materials across the flood-stricken region.

The hardest-hit areas are Musan and Yonsa counties near the Chinese border in the northern tip of the country.

On Monday, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported construction units were arriving in the flood-hit areas from all over the country.

“The country’s manpower and material and technical potentials are now concentrated on the flood damage rehabilitation,” KCNA said

The ruling party has urged citizens to “achieve the miraculous victory of converting misfortune into favorable conditions … with the tremendous might of single-minded unity.”

Soldiers have been called in to help civilians with the clear up operation.

A nationwide mass mobilization labor campaign intended to boost the economy has been redirected to help the victims.

The government sources say that people in the north eastern region near the border with China and Russia were suffering “great hardship.”

The priority is to rebuild 20,000 homes by early October before the bitter Korean winter sets in, they added.

The UN officials citing Pyongyang Government figures that 133 people have been killed and 395 are missing.

More than 100,000 residents have been forced to flee their homes in the area along the Tumen River, which runs between North Korea and China.  About 16,000 hectares of farmland have been inundated.

Meanwhile, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said a statement that a group made up of UN agencies, international NGOs, the international Red Cross and the North’s Red Cross had visited parts of the worst affected region to assess needs.

The government had allowed UN agencies, the North Korean Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Crescent, along with private international aid groups to conduct a joint assessment of needs in the affected areas last week.

According to OCHA, the agencies had released material from stockpiles in the North such as food, shelter and kitchen kits and water purification and health supplies.

This came after past few weeks saw bands of heavy rain sweeping across North Korea. The heaviest downpours fell over the eastern side of the country.

North Korea experiences frequent natural disasters.

In August last year, major downpours followed by flash floods killed at least 40 people and devastated parts of the Rason area, near the Russian and Chinese borders.

 

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