29 Jul 2012

Severe flooding hits North Korea

9:41 am on 29 July 2012

Flooding across North Korea has killed 88 people, left tens of thousands homeless and devastated swathes of farmland.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency says more than a week of floods has left almost 63,000 people homeless, with thousands of houses damaged or destroyed.

The agency says more than 30,000 hectares of land for growing crops has been affected , a potential blow for a state beset by persistent and severe food shortages.

With rugged terrain and outmoded agricultural practices, the country faces serious difficulties in feeding its 24 million people, AFP reports. Hundreds of thousands died during a famine in the mid to late-1990s.

UN agencies, after a visit to the North, estimated last November that three million people would need food aid in 2012.

About 300 public buildings and 60 factories were damaged in the floods, as well as large stretches of road, KCNA said.