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Dozens of North Koreans killed in Typhoon Kompasu

By: CNN
By: CNN

SEOUL, South Korea — A typhoon killed dozens of people and destroyed roads, railways and thousands of homes in North Korea earlier this month, the reclusive state's media reported Wednesday.

It was the first confirmation from the North of the extent of the casualties and damage inflicted by Typhoon Kompasu that hit the divided Korean peninsula on Sept. 2 and killed five people in South Korea.

The typhoon struck as impoverished North Korea struggled to recover from flooding last month that battered its northwest. Even in the best of times, North Korea relies on outside aid to feed its population of 24 million, and the flooding further devastated the country, forcing it to ask the rival South for help.

South Korea, whose current conservative government has cut aid to its communist neighbor, said this week it would send 5,000 tons of rice and other supplies.

The official Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday that most areas in North Korea suffered serious damage, and that landslides, strong winds and heavy rains caused by the typhoon killed dozens of people. It did not give a precise death toll.

Heavy rains washed away 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) of farmland, and landslides "completely ravaged" railroads and tracks, according to the report.

It said that about 3,300 dwellings were destroyed and many people were staying in public shelters.

Electricity, water, and traffic have been cut in some areas, causing delay in the delivery of food and medical relief.

"No small number of difficulties have been endured in trying to right people's lives," KCNA said.

Late last month, an overflowing river swamped farmland, houses and public buildings in and around the northwestern city of Sinuiju. About 23,000 people were displaced, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. South Korea's Red Cross said that in all, an estimated 80,000-90,000 people were affected by the flooding.


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