N Korea state media says China to send flood aid

China is North Korea`s sole major ally and economic prop, supplying bulk of its food, fuel needs.

Pyongyang: China will send flood aid to North Korea after it was hit by rain-triggered floods and landslides that washed away homes, roads and farmland and caused casualties, the North`s state media said on Sunday.

Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed "deep sympathy" in a message sent to the North`s leader Kim Jong-Il on Friday, the Korean Central News Agency said, adding that China`s Red Cross and government have decided to offer relief aid.

"The emergency aid... will greatly boost recovery efforts of North Korean people at flood-stricken areas," KCNA said, without giving details.

Heavy downpours that pounded the communist country from July 12 to 15 left homes, roads and more than 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) of farmland submerged, and caused unspecified casualties, KCNA said two weeks ago.

The torrential rain that dumped more than 250 millimetres (about 10 inches) of rain in some areas also seriously damaged coal mines, power production and railway lines, it said.

Earlier this month, state media said a tropical storm that hit the country in June had caused casualties and left more than 150 homes and some farmland submerged or destroyed.

After decades of deforestation, the impoverished North is particularly vulnerable to flooding. In 2007, it reported at least 600 dead or missing from devastating floods.

China is the North`s sole major ally and economic prop, supplying the bulk of its food and fuel needs.

Bureau Report

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