North Korea evacuates 5,000 hit by floods: State Media

North Korea has launched military rescue operations to evacuate thousands of people hit by floods that wreaked "severe damage" in the border areas near China, state media said on Sunday.

Updated: Aug 22, 2010, 18:29 PM IST

Seoul: North Korea has launched military
rescue operations to evacuate thousands of people hit by
floods that wreaked "severe damage" in the border areas near
China, state media said on Sunday.

Three sectors of Sinuiju city, which is home to an air
base, and three other nearby rural communities in the
northwest were "completely inundated" by heavy floods
yesterday after the Yalu river burst its banks.

That prompted the North`s leader Kim Jong-Il to
immediately order an emergency military rescue operation, the
official Korean Central News Agency said.

More than 5,000 people had been moved to safe areas,
KCNA said, and there were no deaths.

"Affected areas` emergency rescue plans had showed
little progress due to massive damages... but the Dear Leader
made an order to immediately put military forces to the rescue
battle," KCNA said.

Traffic in downtown Sinuiju was "paralysed", it said.
Downpours swelled the Yalu river, which forms the
border between the North and China, sending floodwaters into
homes on both sides of the frontier, state media in both
nations said.

In North Korea, widespread flooding this summer has
washed away homes, roads, railways and farmland, causing an
unspecified number of fatalities in the impoverished country,
according to state media reports from Pyongyang.

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

PTI