N-Korea 'needs immediate food aid'

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A bridge supporting railway lines is destroyed after heavy rain in Onchon County, North Korea(AP/Jon Chol Jin) // A bridge supporting railway lines is destroyed after heavy rain in Onchon County, North Korea(AP/Jon Chol Jin)
A bridge supporting railway lines is destroyed after heavy rain in Onchon County, North Korea(AP/Jon Chol Jin)
North Korea needs immediate food assistance after heavy rains killed scores of people and submerged swathes of farmland, the United Nations said.
That assessment was released by the UN resident co-ordinator's office in Pyongyang, following visits to flood-stricken areas in North Korea earlier this week.
Floods caused by two storm systems last month killed at least 119 people and left tens of thousands homeless, according to the North's state media.
The United States said it would consider a request for assistance but had not received one and it was not aware of Pyongyang making such requests to other states. "If requested, it would be something that that we would carefully evaluate but we are not at that point," US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.
The flooding, which occurred on the heels of a severe drought, renewed concerns about North Korea's ability to feed its people. In June, the UN said two-thirds of the country's 24 million people are coping with chronic food shortages.
Thursday's UN report said torrential rains caused severe damage to homes, public buildings, infrastructure and farms, affecting maize, soya bean and rice fields. The worst-hit areas are Anju city and Songchon County in South Phyongan province, as well as Chonnae County in Kangwon province, where residents are in dire need of emergency food aid, it said.
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