The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, on Monday, said North Korea’s flood toll has increased to 133 people, while another 395 have been declared missing along its northern border. Pyongyang, which issued the data to the international organisation, said it was facing “great hardship” after water levels from the Tumen river rose and displaced around 1,00,000 people.
North Korea said it was redirecting a 200-day nationwide labour campaign into a flood relief programme, as it has described the calamity as the worst to hit the country in decades. Deforestation and poor infrastructure have made the isolated country prone to natural disasters. 169 people were reportedly killed by a storm in 2012.
The UN office said around 16,000 hectares (39,540 acres) of agricultural land have been ruined by the flood and that at least 140,000 people need immediate help. The UNOCHA said a collaboration, comprising UN agencies, international NGOs, the international Red Cross and the North’s Red Cross, conducted an inspection of the affected area last week.
Relief workers have distributed food, kitchen kits, water purification pills and health amenities to some of the victims. Pyongyang said it was trying to reopen roads to speed up the relief programme and rebuild 20,000 homes before the harsh winter begins in October, AFP reported. The country has been criticised for spending too much of its funds on building its defence capability, particularly it nuclear facilities.