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ASIA > N. Korea flood death toll rises to 88: state media

SEOUL - Agence France-Presse

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Nationwide flooding in North Korea this month has killed 88 people, state media said Saturday, in a dramatic increase from its previous death toll.

The flooding between July 18 and 24 "left 88 people dead and 134 injured throughout the country", Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The agency Wednesday put the death toll at eight.

Almost 63,000 people were also left homeless by the floods, which were triggered by torrential rains and a typhoon, and thousands of houses were damaged or destroyed, KCNA said.

The biggest loss of human life was in two counties of South Pyongan province, which were hit by torrential rains on Monday and Tuesday, it said.

Large swathes of farmland were washed away and submerged in parts of the country, and big stretches of road were also destroyed, the agency reported.

The North, beset by persistent severe food shortages, has reported weeks of drought this summer followed by recent torrential rain in some areas.

With rugged terrain and outmoded agricultural practices, the country faces serious difficulties in feeding its 24 million people. Hundreds of thousands died during a famine in the mid to late-1990s.

July/28/2012

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