The World Food Programme has said it is sending a first shipment of emergency food aid to flood-hit areas of North Korea, where torrential rain has killed scores of people and inundated cropland. The assistance will provide victims with an initial ration of 400 grams (14 ounces) of maize a day for 14 days, the UN body said in a statement posted Friday on its website.
It said a UN mission that travelled to flood-hit regions earlier in the week found considerable damage to maize, soybean and rice fields.
The country struggles to feed its people even in normal times and suffered a famine in the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands.
The UN mission said immediate food aid was needed for residents of the worst-hit counties, Anju and Songchon in South Pyongan province and Chonnae in Kangwon province.
It also stressed that tens of thousands of families urgently need clean drinking water to prevent disease.
Wells had been contaminated by overflowing latrines, creating a high risk of a diarrhoea outbreak, while floods had damaged water sources and pumping stations.
Citing government figures, the UN mission said about 50,000 families would need purification tablets or other help to secure clean water.
The North's state media has reported a total of 119 deaths in recent weeks, with 84,000 people made homeless and 45,370 hectares (122,500 acres) of farmland submerged or washed away.
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