Heavy rain has resulted in the death of 60 people and displaced 44,000 in North Korea, AFP reported on Tuesday. The news agency quoted a statement by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which said the reclusive country's Tumen River witnessed its worst-ever recorded flood.

The country said water levels rose during a rainstorm that took place four days ago. The UN office was citing data issued by Pyongyang. The statement said, “Communication with and access to affected areas remains a challenge… immediate needs have been identified as emergency shelter, food, medication, water and sanitary items.”

The statement said a joint disaster management operation, involving state authorities and the UN, was on as 15 people were reported missing and 17,000 houses were destroyed or damaged.

The country, which has undergone major deforestation, has been prone to natural disasters. A storm claimed 169 deaths in 2012. A struggling economy and the loss of Soviet backing worsened North Korea's plight, particularly during the series of floods and droughts that plagued the country between 1994-98.