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North Korea: Heavy flooding destroys homes, farmland

Heavy rain and flooding in provinces along North Korea's east coat have inundated wide swathes of farmland as the impoverished country organizes relief efforts.

A white car drives through a flooded street with tower blocks in the background

Heavy rain and flooding hit South Hamgyong province in North Korea

North Korea's premier traveled to flood-stricken areas after new rounds of heavy rain struck towns along the east coast, state media reported on Thursday.

Kim Tok Hun, premier of North Korea's Cabinet, visited parts of South Hamgyong province and spoke to troops and other emergency responders who had mobilized to help repair flood damage.

Hun said he planned on "learning about the living conditions of the flood victims" and stressed the need for provincial officials to organize flood relief, KCNA news agency reported.

Heavy flooding destroys farmland  

Footage from Pyongyang's state-run KCTV broadcast on Sunday showed homes flooded up to their roofs, as well as what appeared to be damaged bridges.

The report said that more than a thousand homes were damaged and about 5,000 people were evacuated. "Hundreds of hectares of farmland" were also reported submerged or lost in the province as river levees collapsed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered financial support for South Hamgyong to aid its recovery. 

Kim said in June that North Korea's food supply situation was "getting tense" due to lingering damage from a typhoon.

The impact of natural disasters on North Korea is made worse by weak infrastructure and widespread poverty, while deforestation has left it vulnerable to flooding.

International sanctions over the North Korean regime's nuclear weapons program have isolated the country

North suffered from a nationwide famine in the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands of people. 

Rain continues 

As North Korea's premier toured South Hamgyong, as much as 300 millimeters (11.8 inches) of new rain fell in some areas of North Hamgyong province on Wednesday, state broadcaster KRT reported.

"Downpours have already hit these regions, so we need to prepare thorough countermeasures," a KRT presenter said.

The presenter called for "measures" for protects homes, other buildings and infrastructure "to prevent damage from landslides caused by floods."

kmm/wmr (Reuters, AFP)

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