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Heavy flooding in North Korea left 40 people dead, 11 000 displaced

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40 people died and over 11 000 were displaced from their homes, after heavy rainfall triggered strong flash floods across the North Korea, in the period between August 22 and August 24, 2015. The total death toll for August floods has now risen to 61, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

North Korea has been hit by the torrential rainstorms and violent floods after it suffered the worst drought in a century during the month of June, 2015: "It rained really hard, and fast. On Saturday morning the city was flooded. Cars were wading through water like boats," a person who found themselves in the flooded area stated.

Media reported massive damage, over 150 houses devastated and about 850 damaged. The floods have left behind 40 victims and 11 000 displaced people in the city of Rajin, the capital of the Rason Special Economic Zone. 484 Chinese tourists have been evacuated, as well.

Farm land across the affected areas has also been inundated, a local said: "Fields were completely filled with water. Rice paddies just looked like square lakes."

250 mm (9.5 inches) of rain was reported to fall over the weekend starting on August 22, and 155 mm (6 inches) fell in a period of only 3 hours on August 22, Reuters reported.

218 mm (8.6 inches) of rainfall was measured in Sinpo, Hamgyong province, in a 24 hour period between August 25 and August 26, while 112 mm (4.4 inches) was recorded in Samjion, Ryanggang province and 315 mm (12 inches) in Changjon in the province Kangwon, according to World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The severe weather conditions were associated with the Typhoon "Goni", which passed over the Kyushu Island, Japan during August 25. Although North Korea was not on a direct path of the typhoon, its geological features make it prone to flooding and landslides, as there is little to no forest cover to ease and re-direct the rainfall.

Featured image: North Korea under water, August 26, 2015. Image credit: @KiwiLiveNews

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