151 dead; 29 missing in North Korea floods
Floods have damaged 23,400 houses and rendered about 17,000 families homeless, says a Red Cross report.india Updated: Aug 05, 2006 11:22 IST
Floods and landslides in North Korea have killed at least 151 people and left 29 missing, the Red Cross said, but the exact death toll could be much higher.
The International Federation of Red Cross said floods also damaged 23,400 houses and rendered about 17,000 families homeless, a report on its website said.
The United Nations has said the floods in mid-July killed at least 154 people and left another 127 missing, but a South Korean activist group has claimed about 10,000 people were dead or missing.
"(We) continue to regularly share information and coordinate activities with the (North Korean) government, the UN and other international agencies," the IFRC said in the report, dated Friday.
Last month, North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said "hundreds of people" were dead or missing, but the government hasn't given more information since then.
The reclusive North tightly controls all information and doesn't allow free travel by the relatively few foreign aid workers in the country, making it difficult to get precise casualty figures.
North Korea rejected an aid offer from South Korea's Red Cross society, apparently in anger over Seoul's decision to suspend food aid because of the North's missile tests last month.
But Kim Song Won, head of the North's Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Committee, said on Friday his country urgently needs food and is willing to accept aid from the South's government - an about-face that underscored the seriousness of the floods.