North Korea – Floods Leave 133 Dead and 107,000 Displaced

The death toll from severe flooding in a North Korean border region has risen to 133 with another 395 missing and tens of thousands left homeless, the UN said in a report released 11 September. The number of fatalities has risen sharply from the 60 deaths reported on 07 September.

The report says that at least 140,000 people are in urgent need of assistance.

The flooding was triggered by heavy rains as a result of Typhoon Lionrock from from 29 August onwards, affecting the country’s north-eastern North Hamgyong Province.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing figures it has received from the North Korean government, said that around 107,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in areas along the overflowing Tumen River. That figure has increased from 40,000 since 07 September.

Musan County is the worst hit area, where 76,000 people have been displaced. Around 17,000 have been displaced in Yŏnsa County, 8,000 in Hoeryŏng City and 2,400 in Onsŏng County. The worst affected areas in Musan and Yŏnsa counties remain inaccessible.

The UN says that counties in Ryanggang Province that border Yŏnsa County may also be affected but currently there is limited information available from these areas.

The report says that more than 35,500 houses have been damaged, 69 per cent of which have been completed destroyed, and a further 8,700 buildings, including schools and public buildings, have been damaged. Around 16,000 hectares of arable land has been inundated.

An estimated 600,000 people in more than six counties have also been affected by the interruption of water supply systems.

The report added that 16,000 hectares of farmland have been inundated.

Humanitarian agencies have released relief materials from in-country stockpiles including food, nutritional supplements, shelter and kitchen kits, water purification and sanitation supplies, emergency health supplies and education supplies.

The Government is urgently working to reopen the roads to improve access to affected areas, and is distributing relief goods and building materials. They are also prioritising the rebuilding of 20,000 houses by early October, in advance of winter, with support from the humanitarian community.

The country suffered severe flooding in 2012. In the mountainous region of South Hamgyong province numerous villages were affected by flash floods in July 2012 which destroyed hundreds of homes. Photo Credit: Devrig Velly EU/ECHO November 2012
The country suffered severe flooding in 2012.
In the mountainous region of South Hamgyong province numerous villages were affected by flash floods in July 2012 which destroyed hundreds of homes. Photo Credit: Devrig Velly EU/ECHO November 2012