Homes flooded, fields and roads damaged as heavy rain hits North Korea

·1-min read

By Josh Smith and Minwoo Park

SEOUL (Reuters) - More than 1,100 homes in North Korea were damaged, thousands of people evacuated, and farms and roads washed away after days of heavy rains brought flooding, its state media reported.

The reports come as concern grows about damage to crops and the possible impact on food supplies in North Korea, which is cut off from most foreign imports and aid by self-imposed border restrictions aimed at preventing a coronavirus outbreak, as well as by international sanctions.

Heavy rain struck several areas on the east coast, including North and South Hamgyong provinces, state broadcaster KRT reported on Thursday.

Television footage showed homes flooded to their roofs, and bridges and dikes washed away.

The deputy head of the State Hydro-Meteorological Administration, Ri Yong Nam, told the broadcaster that parts of North Hamgyong recorded over 500 mm of rain from Sunday through Tuesday, while areas of South Hamgyong exceeded the average monthly precipitation in those days.

"We expect more rain in August in various regions including the east coast area, which may cause further damage," he said.

In June, leader Kim Jong Un said the country faced a "tense" food situation and much would depend on this year's harvests.

For months, state media have shown work to shore up dikes, and improve ditches, bridges and other infrastructure to try to prevent damage from floods.

During a phone call on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong discussed the prospect of humanitarian aid to North Korea, their offices said in statements. They did not elaborate.

(Reporting by Josh Smith and Minwoo Park; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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