An aid group says more than 54,000 North Koreans are dead or missing after widespread flooding.

The South Korea-based Good Friends organization released that figure Wednesday and added that another 2.5 million people are believed to have been left homeless.

The new estimate is far higher than earlier death tolls. The North Korean government has estimated the death toll in the hundreds.

Earlier this month, South Korea announced it will give an aid package worth more than $10 million to independent aid groups to help flood victims in North Korea.

North Korean officials formally requested the help from South Korea, after initially turning down aid offers from foreign relief agencies.

Seasonal rains have caused landslides and destroyed vital crops, raising concerns the impoverished country could face famine.

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