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No request from N.K. to help flood damage recovery: Seoul

All Headlines 12:05 September 07, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has made no official request for help as it tries to cope with flood damage in its northern region, Seoul's unification ministry said Wednesday.

North Korea's state media said Tuesday that heavy rains have left more than 60 people dead and 25 missing in the country's northern Hamgyong Province bordering China. It said the country is focusing on recovery work in the hard-hit areas. The North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the flooding in North Hamgyong Province alone submerged 7,980 hectares of rice paddies and destroyed or inundated hundreds of buildings.

Seoul's unification ministry said that it is checking the extent of the flood damage.

"North Korea has made no official request for the South to provide support for its recovery efforts," Jeong Joon-hee, ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

A source familiar with North Korean affairs said Friday that a five-story apartment building collapsed in North Korea's northern Ryanggang Province, after the region was hit by heavy downpours. The collapse left 34 people dead.

North Korea's media outlets targeting internal audiences are believed to have not reported on the flood damage while the KCNA which targets readers outside the country, covered the news.

"The move appears to take into account the morale of North Koreans," Jeong said. "Externally, North Korea seems to sending out reports in a bid to win aid."

In August 2015, Typhoon Goni struck the northern part of the reclusive country, and flooded the border city of Rason where a special economic zone is located.

The flood is known to have left at least 40 North Korean dead and more than 1,420 families homeless.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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