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North Korea: Devastating floods leave 133 dead, 395 missing, 107,000 displaced.

14 September 2016

North Korea usually projects itself to the world as a worker's paradise. And recently it has engaged in public displays of strength through missile launches and nuclear tests. But a terrible flood in the country has forced the government to admit that tens of thousands of people need help.

A report published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) - North Korea's official state media - said that the northeast region of the country has been hit by severe flooding. The government report stated that due to 'the heaviest rain since 1945' tens of thousands of buildings have been destroyed and that people have been left homeless, 'suffering from great hardship'.

According to the UN, 133 people have died and a further 395 are missing, while more than 35,500 homes have been damaged - two-thirds of them completely destroyed. Some 107,000 people have been displaced by the floods and a lot of the critical infrastructure is gone. The UN figures are all based on North Korean government data.

North Korea is number 1 on the World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. For many years, Open Doors has been supporting believers in North Korea with emergency relief aid (such as food, medicines, clothes) as well as providing training and Christian resources.

Major and complex disaster

The flooding is the result of heavy rain in late August and early September resulting from Typhoon Lionrock. The flooding caused extensive damage near the Tumen river and affects areas such as Musan and Yonsa counties and Hoeryong City in North Hamgyong province. North Korea is widely impoverished and widespread deforestation for fuel and farming has only exacerbated the problem. The country is beset by chronic food shortages and is heavily dependent on foreign aid to feed its population.

According to AFP, the leader of a Red Cross delegation who visited the area said that, 'The floods came through with such force, they destroyed everything in their path' and that the region faced 'a very major and complex disaster'.

That the normally secretive dictatorial government has actually admitted the problem shows how severe the disaster is. At the same time, due to their recent missile tests, they are facing increased sanctions from the international community.

Please pray for the country at this time.

Source: CNN; BBC; AFP

Please pray:

  • That international aid agencies will gain access and be able to help
  • For protection for North Koreans affected by the flooding, and that the government will help them in this struggle
  • For the witness of the the secret Christians in the country in the face of increasing food shortages and natural disasters.

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Find out more about persecution in North Korea.