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North Korea floods destroy bridges, railways: state media

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Aug 8, 2010
Floods caused by torrential rain have washed away homes, roads, railways and farmland in North Korea, state media said Sunday, without giving a casualty toll.

"Water damage restoration work is underway in... areas struck by continuing torrential rain," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, adding authorities were holding emergency meetings on aid for those affected.

The agency said work was underway to rebuild flood-hit homes, public buildings, bridges and roads.

Workers in the eastern province of South Hamkyong have restored all 110 irrigation channels that were destroyed, it said.

Work was also underway in the northwestern province of North Pyongan, next to the border with China, and in Hwanghae province in the southwest.

Railways and telephone lines in Jagang province to the east of North Pyongan have been restored, it said.

The report did not say exactly when the floods hit the impoverished nation, which even in normal times suffers severe food shortages.

Last Thursday KCNA reported widespread flood damage following torrential rain in July. Some 5,560 houses were destroyed along with 360 public buildings and factories, it said.

There were also fatalities, KCNA said without elaborating.

Some 14,850 hectares (36,700 acres) of farmland were "submerged, buried or washed away", the agency said Thursday.

The North suffers frequent floods during the rainy season due to deforestation of hillsides for firewood or agriculture and a lack of flood control measures.

In August 2007 the country's worst floods in a decade left at least 600 people dead or missing.

South Korea's Meteorological Administration says 315.8 mm (12.6 inches) of rain fell in the North in July, up 139 percent from the monthly average.

China has suspended shipping and tourist boat traffic on the Yalu River, which forms part of its border with North Korea, over fears of flooding as authorities predict more rain.

The waterway in China's northeast has seen more rain over the past two weeks than at any comparable time in recorded history, swelling it to critical levels and prompting the evacuation of thousands, Beijing's official Xinhua news agency said.

earlier related report
Hundreds evacuated from deadly flooding in Germany: police
Berlin (AFP) Aug 8, 2010 - Rising floodwaters forced the evacuation Sunday of more than 1,400 people in southeastern Germany, including residents of two homes for the aged, authorities said.

After three people drowned Saturday in a cellar in Neunkirchen near the city of Chemnitz in a flash flood, police warned that a heavy downpour posed a threat to residents throughout the region.

"It is still raining hard and there is no let-up in sight," said a spokesman for disaster management in the city of Goerlitz, which lies on the Neisse River dividing Germany from Poland, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) to the east of Chemnitz.

Authorities said 1,450 residents of Goerlitz and the surrounding area had been taken to safety in boats, buses and helicopters.

Heavy rains and a dam-break on Witka Lake in Poland near the German border led the Neisse and several other rivers in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic to burst their banks, German authorities said.

"Flash floods hit the city within a few hours and there was nothing we could do to prepare ourselves," Goerlitz Mayor Michael Wieler told news channel N24.

The extreme weather in central Europe has claimed the lives of at least eight people including four in the Czech Republic and one in Poland.




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Pakistan PM calls for help as fresh rains hamper flood aid
Tori Band, Pakistan (AFP) Aug 8, 2010
Fresh rains lashed flood-hit Pakistan Sunday, hampering aid efforts and threatening to deepen a crisis affecting 15 million people in the country's worst ever floods. Helicopters were grounded in the northwest while rescuers rushed to evacuate families in the poor southern farming belt of Sindh, where officials were readying for a deluge that could burst the banks of the swollen Indus river. ... read more

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