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North Korea Says Floods Kill 88, Leave Over 60,000 Homeless

North Korea said flooding caused by Typhoon Khanun last week killed 88 people and left 62,900 homeless in the isolated communist nation where drought has already added to chronic food shortages.

Torrential rains and flooding between July 18 and 24 inundated more than 12,030 houses and destroyed scores of factory buildings, educational facilities and health-care establishments, the official Korean Central News Agency reported yesterday, citing data collected until July 28. More than 91,890 square meters of roads were destroyed and 160 kilometers (99 miles) of embankment washed away, KCNA said.

About 4,800 hectares (11,860 acres) of cropland were washed away and more than 25,700 hectares submerged, KCNA reported.

As much as 150 millimeters (5.9 inches) of rain is forecast nationwide for today and tomorrow, falling mainly on the western coast and the northern province of Jagang on North Korea’s border with China, KCNA said in a separate report today.

North Korea’s rainy season began on July 18 as Typhoon Khanun struck the Korean peninsula, hitting northwestern coastal areas the hardest. The monsoon season set in after the country’s worst drought in a century threatened wheat, barley and potato harvests.

Chronic Food Shortages

About 16 million of North Korea’s 24 million people suffer from chronic food insecurity, high malnutrition rates and deep-rooted economic challenges, Jerome Sauvage, United Nations resident coordinator in the capital of Pyongyang, said in a June 12 statement.

As many as 2 million people starved to death since the mid-1990s as the communist regime pursued nuclear weapons and missile development, further isolating itself from the international community.

North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong Un lost a deal with the U.S. for 240,000 metric tons of food in exchange for a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests when his country tested a long-range rocket on April 13.

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