Tue Jul 18, 2006
Tue Jul 18, 2006
Wed, 19 Jul 2006 12:00 CDT
GENEVA - At least 100 people are believed dead or missing and 9,000 are homeless after typhoon rains caused severe flooding and landslides in North Korea, wiping out whole villages, the international Red Cross said.
"In some remote areas, whole villages have been swept away and essential public services, such as health care clinics, have been destroyed," said Jaap Timmer, the head of North Korean operations at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Communications networks have been severely disrupted, making it difficult to collect reliable information on casualties, the Federation said.
"There has also been widespread damage to roads and bridges, which has left many people displaced or stranded," Timmer said in a statement.
The typhoon, which struck last Friday, totally or partially destroyed more than 11,500 houses, the Red Cross said.
It also destroyed out vast swathes of farmland, a major blow for the secretive communist nation which has long relied on international food handouts after failed harvests.
The Federation said that the North Korean Red Cross mobilized more than 2,300 volunteers to provide first aid and rescue and evacuation support in affected provinces.
The North Korean Red Cross, with Federation help, has sent blankets, kitchen sets, plastic sheeting, water containers and water purification tablets to almost 10,000 families whose homes were completely destroyed in South Pyongan, North Hwanghe and Kangwon provinces.
The rains have also pounded South Korea, leaving at least 19 people dead and 31 missing.
Most victims came from the eastern mountainous province of Gangwon where 17 were killed in landslides or flash floods, South Korean authorities said, adding that more than 3,700 people are homeless.