April 1 (UPI) -- North Korea says it is moving forward with an "integrated flood management system" to guard against future disasters, according to state media.
KCNA reported Wednesday Pyongyang's State Academy of Sciences' Earth Research Institute is moving forward with research on the prevention of natural disasters.
Floods and other natural disasters have hit North Korea in recent years. In 2018, floods in the country may have killed at least 76 people while destroying hundreds of buildings. Areas impacted included North and South Hwanghae provinces, where North Korean Red Cross volunteers searched for and rescued victims, according to state media reports at the time.
Flooding also caused thousands of people to be displaced in 2016 and 2017.
"When the research project to establish and introduce an integrated flood management system is complete, it will minimize damage and protect the country's valuable resources and the environment of the homeland," state media said.
Of the system being planned, KCNA said it would "provide disaster forecasts and risk information related to the level and condition of flooding in individual areas, which would trigger an immediate response that enables prompt action."
North Korea's statement on tackling environmental challenges comes at a time when the country is severely restricting cross-border movement.
International organizations have provided some equipment to combat COVID-19, but Pyongyang has yet to respond to U.S. or South Korean offers of aid against the disease. North Korea has said there are zero cases of COVID-19 within its borders.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday sanctions against the country do not prevent humanitarian supplies from reaching needy people, VOA's Korean service reported.
Without mentioning North Korea by name, Pompeo also suggested the regime is making choices that hurt its impoverished population the most.
"Some of these countries continue to build bombs and missiles and nuclear capability all the while their people are starving," Pompeo said.
"So when they make the claim that they just don't have the money to feed their people, these are decisions that these people's leaders have often made [that are] not in the best interest of those peoples."