North Korea Devastated By New Floods

  • Share
  • Read Later
KAESONG CITY, North Korea: Still reeling from the economic losses caused by last year's ruinous floods, North Korea is once again suffering heavy monsoon rains that have inundated several key grain-producing regions, causing severe damage to farmland and killing at least 230 people. The flooding, which has caused less extensive damage in parts of South Korea, has destroyed as much as 20 percent of North Korea's annual food production. Robert Hauser, country representative of the World Food Programme in DPRK, talked to TIME after returning from Kaesong City, which is flooded by about 8 feet of water: "I"ve lived in tropical areas," Hauser said. "I've never seen such heavy rain continue uninterrupted for hours and hours." Hauser saw malnutrition on his trip, where, because of the rationing that followed last year's floods, many North Koreans had been getting by on tiny grain rations that barely sustain them. The new flooding seems certain to lead to starvation and other severe suffering. "It's difficult to expect them to work in the fields and repair the vast new flood damage with so little to eat," Hauser says. The United Nations appeal for food aid to compensate for last year's flooding drew little support, in part because western opponents of the Pyongyang regime argued that giving such help would merely prop up the communists, and would probably be funneled to the army instead of civilians. -->