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South Korea Considers Sending Aid to Flood-Hit North Korea


South Korea says it is considering sending humanitarian aid to North Korea after days of heavy flooding destroyed crops and displaced as many as 300,000 people.

Officials said Thursday the aid package could include blankets, food and medicine.

North Korea confirmed flooding caused by torrential rain has swept away at least 11 percent of its rice and corn fields.

International agencies and reports from South Korea say as many as 300 people are dead or missing.

North Korea already struggles to feed its people and faces an annual food shortage of one million tons. The flooding could leave North Korea another 450,000 tons short.

North Korea's state media says more than 30,000 buildings are damaged or destroyed.

A U.N. World Food Program assessment team that traveled to flood-hit areas north of the capital, Pyongyang, says the situation is a "very serious humanitarian crisis."

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the United Nations will do all it can to help North Korea. The United States is also considering sending help.

North Korea is one of the world's most isolated countries, and struggles with chronic poverty and food shortages. In the 1990's, famine caused by drought and floods is thought to have killed up to a million people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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