Scores Dead, Displaced in North Korea Floods

Destruction to crops will worsen North Korea's chronic food shortages.Destruction to crops will worsen North Korea's chronic food shortages.

Aid agencies have warned that North Korea is facing a humanitarian disaster after tens of thousands of people were displaced by flooding.

The UN and the International Red Cross say the government has reported 133 deaths with nearly 400 people missing and homes and crops destroyed.

Rescue teams have been unable to reach some of the worst-hit areas. North Korea already has chronic food shortages and is heavily dependent on foreign aid to feed its population. The UN has allocated $8 million this year for humanitarian aid in the isolated country, BBC reported.

The flooding, triggered by the recent Typhoon Lionrock, comes as North Korea faces global anger for conducting its fifth nuclear test. Friday's detonation, believed to be the North's biggest test so far, is expected to lead to a tightening of sanctions.

The worst flooding is along the Tumen River, which borders southern China. Many areas in Musan and Yonsa counties are entirely cut off, said the UN.

Chris Staines, who is leading a Red Cross delegation in North Korea, said the region was facing "a very major and complex disaster".

"The floods came through with such force; they destroyed everything in their path," AFP quoted him as saying. In some villages close to Hoeryong City there was "barely a building left unscathed".

"People displaced from the floods are now in a very difficult situation and there are real risks of secondary disasters, particularly relating to people's health," he added.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said 140,000 people are "in urgent need of assistance".

Murat Sahin, a UN official in North Korea, said the scale was of the disaster was "beyond anything experienced by local officials".

North Korean state media said people are experiencing "great suffering" in the region.