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KCTV: Floods in North Korea destroy hundreds of homes

North Korea’s state media reported Thursday that homes were submerged after heavy rains passed through South Hamgyong Province. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
North Korea’s state media reported Thursday that homes were submerged after heavy rains passed through South Hamgyong Province. File Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Torrential rains in North Korea have flooded more than 1,170 homes and led to the evacuation of 5,000 people, state media said, after a week of warnings from the regime's State Hydro-Meteorological Administration.

Pyongyang's Korea Central Television reported late Thursday that heavy rains have been inundating South Hamgyong Province, with rainfall ranging anywhere from 6 to 12 inches in the city of Hamhung and Sinhung and Ragwon counties.

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Ri Yong Nam, of North Korea's meteorological agency, told the state broadcaster that heavy rain along the country's eastern coast is expected for the remainder of August.

"Soil humidity is high due to the rain, but more rain could cause more damage," Ri said.

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KCTV footage showed houses submerged under water, with only the roofs of homes visible above the water's surface. Hundreds of acres of farmland also have been "sunk, flooded or lost," KCTV said.

State media also showed collapsed trees and bridges, as well as roads that had been closed. More than 55,000 feet of roads had been shut, and rivers had breached more than 26,000 feet of embankments, according to the report.

The reported damage could have significant implications for food production in impoverished North Korea. Last year, a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that "deterioration of critical agricultural infrastructure and recurrent natural disasters" were responsible for food shortages.

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South Hamgyong Province, along with South Pyongan and Hwanghae provinces, is the source of more than 60% of North Korea's rice production, according to South Korean network JTBC.

North Korea previously has said food output had decreased by more than 1 million tons in 2020 than the previous year, citing natural disasters.

Kim Jong Un visited typhoon-hit areas of the country last year, including South Hamgyong Province.

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