North Korea floods kill at least 88 people in July


Inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog,the International Atomic Energy Agency, were expelled from North Korea for the second time three years ago.


Mark Ralston

At least 88 people have been killed by recent floods in North Korea, state media reports.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, another 134 have been injured since torrential rains began on July 18, with the worst losses in the counties of Sinyang and Songchon in South Phyongan Province.

More than 5,000 houses were destroyed completely and 12,030 flooded, leaving nearly 62,900 people homeless, KCNA said.

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Almost 30,000 hectares of farmland were inundated. Given that floods last year, followed by a cold winter, have already caused severe food shortages, the recent damage could continue to cause problems long after the waters recede.

The bleak estimate contrasts with state media's reporting on the floods so far. According to Agence France Presse, last week just eight people were reported to have died in the floods. 

And three days ago, AFP reported that North Korean media was full of praise for leader Kim Jong Un, after he apparently sent an army helicopter to rescue 60 people stranded by flood waters in northwest Pyongan.

North Korea is naturally vulnerable to flooding, the BBC said, and the country's poor infrastructure makes it all the harder to recover.

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