UN: North Korea in immediate need of food aid after floods

Flooding has caused severe damage,says report

 

North Korea needs immediate food assistance after heavy rains killed scores of people and submerged vast swaths of farmland, according to a United Nations report.

 

That assessment was released by the UN resident coordinator’s office in Pyongyang following visits to flood-stricken areas in North Korea earlier this week. Floods caused by two storm systems last month killed at least 119 people and left tens of thousands homeless, according to the North’s state media.

 

The flooding renewed concerns about North Korea’s ability to feed its people. In June, the UN said two-thirds of the country’s 24 million people are coping with chronic food shortages.

 

Emergency food aid needed

 

The UN report said torrential rains caused severe damage to homes, public buildings, infrastructure and farms, affecting maize, soybean and rice fields. The worst-hit areas are Anju city and Songchon County in South Phyongan Province, as well as Chonnae County in Kangwon Province, where residents are in dire need of emergency food aid, it said.

 

Some 36,000 families in Anju do not have access to clean water; wells are contaminated due to overflow of pit latrines and open drainage, raising the risk of a diarrhea outbreak, the report said.

 

North Korean officials have asked the UN to prioritise the release of emergency supplies, including food and fuel, Martin Nesirky, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, told reporters in New York.

 

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