133 dead, hundreds missing in North Korea floods

At least 133 people have been killed and nearly 400 others remain missing after floods triggered by Typhoon Lionrock caused widespread devastation in North Korea, officials say. More than 140,000 people are in urgent need of assistance.

Floods triggered by Typhoon Lionrock, which was also known as Typhoon Dindo, destroyed nearly 25,000 homes late last month, according to a situation report released on Monday by the UN's humanitarian agency OCHA.

The worst damage was reported in North Hamgyong Province in counties along the border with China, particularly in areas along the flooded Tumen River. Musan and Yonsa counties remain inaccessible, the OCHA's report said.

As of Monday morning, the North Korean government confirmed that 133 people had been killed and 395 others remain missing. At least 140,000 people are in urgent need of assistance, including 107,000 people who have been displaced.

In addition, an estimated 600,000 people in more than six counties have been affected by the interruption of water supply systems, the OCHA reported. The extent of damage and casualties in two counties in Ryanggang Province is not yet known.

The report was released after a government-led team visited several of the worst-affected areas, including Hoeryong City and surrounding villages. The team included representatives from UN agencies, the North Korean Red Cross, the Red Cross and international NGOs.

BNO News was unable to gather additional details from the reclusive country, which has no press freedom. The state-run KCNA news agency said the typhoon was the region's "strongest storm and heaviest downpour" recorded since Korea's liberation from Japanese rule in 1945.

But KCNA's reporting of previous floods has at times been criticized after photos were released that appeared to have been digitally altered to make the disaster look worse than it may have been. Experts believe the apparent manipulation in the past was an attempt to receive more international aid.

As of Monday, state-run media has not released any footage of the latest flooding.

(Copyright 2015 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

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