North Korea reports hundreds dead, missing after ‘catastrophic floods’

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (UPI) — North Korea state media reported “catastrophic floods” have led to hundreds dead and missing – and that the number of casualties continues to grow.

Typhoon Lionrock swept across North Hamgyong Province between Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 and the toll on the country is the worst since national liberation in 1945 or the end of World War II, Korean Central Television reported Wednesday.

“The number of dead and missing is in the hundreds and 68,900 people were forced out of their homes,” KCTV stated.

The estimates reported Wednesday are higher than the numbers released by KCNA on Sept. 6. but lower than the 100,000 reported homeless by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies earlier this week.

In early September, North Korea had said 60 people had died and 25 people were missing after nearly 20,000 acres of farmland were submerged under water and more than 5,100 acres of fields were washed away.

The World Food Program has delivered food aid to 140,000 North Koreans in response to the floods, but the U.N. measure was not reported on North Korea state media on Wednesday.

Countries that could donate relief to flood recovery in North Korea, however, are refraining from providing assistance.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told lawmakers in Tokyo there are no plans to provide aid because of North Korea’s nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, Jiji Press reported on Wednesday.

Lawmakers instead adopted a resolution condemning Pyongyang’s fifth nuclear test and multiple ballistic missile launches, according to the report.

“We strongly condemn the direct threat to Japan’s security,” the resolution read, adding North Korea’s provocations “cannot be tolerated.”

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