North Korea requests immediate food aid after devastating floods
North Korea has requested immediate food aid after devastating floods last month, the United Nations says.
UN officials in Pyongyang said the need for aid was urgent after visiting flood-hit parts of the country to assess damage.
North Korea state media said that at least 119 people died and tens of thousands were left homeless.
Damage to infrastructure and farmland has affected the country’s already dire food shortage problem.
The most badly affected areas are Anju city and Songchon County in South Phyongan Province, and Chonnae County in Kangwon Province, said the UN.
Residents in these areas are in urgent need of food supplies, as well as clean water, as wells have been contaminated by sewerage during the floods.
A UN spokesman in New York confirmed that the North Korean government has asked the UN to release emergency supplies such as food and fuel.
Recent images from Anju taken by state news agency KCNA showed houses underwater, flooded agricultural land and people sheltering in the upper stories of buildings.
Kim Kwang-Dok, vice-chairman of the Anju City People’s Committee, told the Associated Press news agency that the flooding was the worst in the city’s history.
The floods – which followed a severe drought earlier this year – have sparked fresh concern over North Korea’s struggle to feed its people.
North Korea relies on food aid because it cannot grow enough food to feed its people. Famine in the mid-1990s is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of people.
A UN report released last month estimated that two-thirds of North Korea’s 24 million population suffer from a chronic shortage of food.
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