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SHAKE AND BLOW
Red Cross seeks $15.5 mn to help flood-hit N. Korea
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Sept 21, 2016


Death toll from Indonesia floods, landslides, rises to 19
Jakarta (AFP) Sept 21, 2016 - The death toll from a series of landslides and flash floods in Indonesia climbed to 19 on Wednesday, an official said, including several children found by rescuers scouring for survivors.

The worst-hit region was the west of Indonesia's main island of Java, where torrential downpours in Garut saw floodwaters quickly rise to 2 metres (6.5 feet), national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement.

"The official report (from Garut)... is that 16 people were killed and eight others are still missing," he said.

Among the dead from the fast-rising floods were an eight-month-old toddler and four other children under the age of ten, Sutopo added, citing a casualty report from the local disaster agency in Garut.

More than one thousand people have been forced from their homes in the district and are taking shelter in nearby emergency tents set up by search and rescue teams.

Elsewhere in West Java, the death toll from a landslide in Sumedang regency rose to three, with one other person still believed missing beneath an avalanche of mud and rock.

The landslide left two others injured and destroyed a mosque, Sutopo added.

Landslides and flooding are common in Indonesia, a vast tropical archipelago prone to natural disasters and torrential downpours.

The country's disaster agency has warned people to be alert for disasters this wet season as a La Nina weather phenomenon threatens unseasonably heavy rain.

In June nearly 50 people died when heavy downpours sent torrents of water, mud and rock surging into villages in Central Java, another densely-populated province on Indonesia's main island.

The Red Cross appealed Wednesday for $15.5 million in emergency funding to help flood-ravaged North Koreans, warning of a "secondary disaster" in the impoverished country unless urgent assistance is provided.

At least 138 people are known to have died and nearly 400 are missing after torrential rain triggered major floods, devastating villages in the country's northeast, the UN said last week.

According to the UN, 140,000 people need assistance. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that about 70,000 remain homeless after tens of thousands of houses were damaged or destroyed.

"People were vulnerable before this disaster but now they are in danger of reaching tipping point," said Chris Staines, head of the IFRC delegation in Pyongyang, in a statement.

"Winter is on our doorstep and when you add up the impact of the floods and the risks people now face, we could see a secondary disaster here in the months ahead", Staines said, following a visit to the affected areas.

With winter temperatures threatening to plunge to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit), the $15.5-million fund will be used to deliver crucial relief supplies including tents, medicines and coal to 7,000 families.

Images published by state media showed collapsed roads and railways, as well as houses engulfed in a wall of mud, while hundreds of people -- many covered in dirt -- struggled to remove the debris.

It said large numbers of troops and residents from nearby areas had been mobilised for reconstruction, with authorities urging them to "work miracles".

The impoverished and isolated North is vulnerable to natural disasters, especially floods, due partly to deforestation and poor infrastructure.

At least 169 people were killed by a massive rainstorm in the summer of 2012.

However, huge government resources are swallowed up by a missile and nuclear weapons programme widely condemned by the international community.

The North, already under layers of sanctions imposed over past missile and nuclear tests, is facing potentially more sanctions following a fifth nuclear test staged on September 9.


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Previous Report
SHAKE AND BLOW
N. Korea says floods 'worst disaster' since WWII
Seoul (AFP) Sept 14, 2016
Floods in North Korea that have left hundreds dead or missing are the "worst disaster" to hit the country since World War II, state media said on Wednesday. The official KCNA news agency did not give exact numbers of those killed or unaccounted for, but a UN report said 138 people have died and 400 are missing after torrential rains caused devastation in the country's far north. The floo ... read more


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