151 dead or missing, tens of thousands displaced as major floods hit North Korea after ‘unprecedented’ drought

76 people have been killed and 75 others remain missing after extremely heavy rains hit parts of North Korea at the end of August 2018. Major flooding continued into September. It came after ‘unprecedented’ drought hit the country in July and August, forcing authorities to call on its people to wage an ‘all-out battle’ against a record heatwave that hit hard already fragile crops. 

Heavy flooding was reported in Kangwon and South Hamgyong provinces after Tropical Storm “Soulik” dumped extremely heavy rain on August 23 and 24, UNOCHA reports.

Munchon city was worst affected with 10 reported deaths and 60 people missing. In both Munchon and Kowon cities, over 58 000 people were reportedly displaced.

In Kangwon’s Kumchon town, heavy rains took place between August 28 and 30, partially covering a highway just south of the town. The town recorded as much as 678 mm (26.69 inches) of rain in between 13:00 local time, August 28 and 17:00 on the following day, according to Korea Central TV.

Many schools and health facilities were destroyed or damaged as well as water supply system of Munchon city, leaving tens of thousands of people without access to safe drinking water.

Agricultural land has been damaged or washed away, UNOCHA report states.

The government is providing assistance in terms of search and rescue, temporary shelter, and health care.

As of September 2, heavy flooding was reported in North and South Hwanghae provinces. There are 76 reported deaths, and 75 people missing in both provinces. Over 9 000 people are displaced and nearly 1 800 residential buildings destroyed or damaged, according to UNOCHA. 

A report recently published by Red Cross states that as many as 10 000 houses have been damaged elsewhere in the country and 35 000 people displaced.

NKNews report published September 4 said that there has not been any coverage of domestic flood damage following the latest storms.

Featured image credit: Planet Labs

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