by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Aug 13, 2012
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Monday he is seeking a way to ease tensions between North and South Korea, and promised more help to Pyongyang to recover from deadly floods.
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said inter-Korean relations had soured recently.
"As the UN secretary-general, I have continually paid attention to this and am thinking hard how to create an opportunity to ease tension on the peninsula leading to reconciliation," he told reporters during a visit to Seoul.
Cross-border relations have sharply worsened in recent months. The North has threatened "sacred war" against the South's conservative government for alleged insults to, and plots against, its regime.
The North is also grappling with the after-effects of floods that killed 169 people and left 400 missing, according to Pyongyang's official figures.
Its state media said floods and torrential rain between late June and the end of July also made 212,200 people homeless.
Floods were said to have washed away or inundated 65,280 hectares (161,310 acres) of cropland, in a country already suffering severe food shortages.
UN agencies have visited the worst-hit areas to assess aid needs.
Ban said the world body has "deep concern" about the situation. "UN humanitarian bodies have offered necessary support and plan to expand it further," he said.
UN agencies and other humanitarian bodies based in the North said they could not independently verify the government figures but flood damage was evident in areas that had been visited.
In a report Monday they said a lack of drinking water, which heightened the risk of diarrhoea outbreaks, was still a major concern. Agencies had distributed thousands of water and hygiene kits along with more than a million water purification tablets.
An increase in acute malnutrition among children under five had been reported, most probably due to diarrhoea. Hospitals and clinics lacked essential drugs and even splints and bandages.
The UN's World Food Programme has provided 570 tonnes of grain to feed about 102,000 people for 14 days and another 5,000 tonnes was needed for longer-term help, the report said.
Monitoring teams were checking the food reached people in need, it said, adding about $3.7 million was required to fund overall relief work.
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
New storm threatens flood-hit Philippines
Manila (AFP) Aug 13, 2012
Philippine authorities warned Monday an intensifying storm could bring more misery to the flood-battered capital and surrounding areas, where nearly half a million were in evacuation centres. While flooding that covered 80 percent of Manila last week had largely subsided, vast areas of mainly rice-growing provinces to the north were still under water that in some places remained neck-deep. ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|