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North Korea: Flood Rescue Operations Underway

  • VOA News

FILE - North Koreans walk along a flooded street.

FILE - North Koreans walk along a flooded street.

A large-scale recovery effort involving 200,000 people is underway in North Korea following devastating flooding that began August 30.

Nearly 140 people have been killed, tens of thousands displaced and at least 400 are still missing.

About 140,000 people are described as being in urgent need, having lost their homes and belongings, with some 600,000 others affected by a loss of drinking water, ruined crops and lack of health care. Tens of thousands of homes and other structures like schools were totally or partially destroyed.

Poor infrastructure and deforestation have made the country vulnerable to flooding.

In this undated image from video distributed on Sept. 12, 2016, by North Korean broadcaster KRT, North Korean workers build levees along a river bank.

In this undated image from video distributed on Sept. 12, 2016, by North Korean broadcaster KRT, North Korean workers build levees along a river bank.

"People have lost everything," Chris Staines, head of the Pyongyang office of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told VOA. "They’ve lost their houses, they’ve lost their clothing, they’ve lost their kitchen gardens, they’ve lost their livestock, they’ve lost their food supplies."

Staines said the biggest concern now is finding shelter for displaced victims, but access to clean water is dangerously limited and the risk of communicable diseases such as diarrhea is increasing significantly.

North Korea’s government has mobilized brigades of soldiers from around the country to reopen roads and to distribute relief goods and building material to help victims of the flooding, which began on August 29 and was triggered by Typhoon Lionrock.

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