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US readies flood aid to N. Korea
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Sept 2, 2011

The $900,000 in US aid for flood-hit North Korea that Washington announced last month will be delivered in the coming days, the US State Department said Friday.

"A cargo plane of relief supplies is scheduled to arrive in Pyongyang over the weekend," said spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in a statement.

"We will provide funds to the US non-governmental organization Samaritan's Purse for use in its flood relief efforts. US government assistance will consist solely of emergency relief supplies, such as blankets, soap, and hygiene kits," she said.

The United States, Nuland emphasized, "remains deeply concerned about the well-being of the North Korean people, and this humanitarian assistance is not linked to any political or security issues."

In August, officials said the funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) would contribute to emergency relief supplies for Kangwon and North and South Hwanghae provinces through NGOs.

The United States has for months been withholding a decision on sending food aid to North Korea until Pyongyang tackles US concerns over whether it will be distributed to the needy.

Impoverished North Korea has requested overseas food and in May invited a US envoy to assess its needs. Relief groups have said that North Korea faces imminent shortages, although many US lawmakers have been skeptical.

State media said August 5 that floods in North Korea triggered by torrential rain late last month killed 30 people and destroyed more than 6,750 houses.

More than 15,800 people were left homeless by the floods, which also inundated more than 48,000 hectares (120,000 acres) of farmland, "seriously affecting this year's grain output," the Korean Central News Agency said.

The state news agency said 350 factories and public buildings also collapsed in the heavy rain and floods.

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Japan braces for strong typhoon
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 2, 2011 - Japan braced for heavy rain and fierce winds on Friday as typhoon Talas churned towards western Japan, the meteorological agency said.

The typhoon, packing gusts of up to 162 kilometres (100 miles) per hour, was located some 190 kilometres south of Cape Muroto, the southern tip of Shikoku Island, Friday afternoon, the agency said.

Talas was moving north at a speed of 20 kilometres in the Pacific and may make landfall on Shikoku or other western Japanese areas by early Saturday, the agency said.

The typhoon is then expected to cross the western part of the main Honshu island and move into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) over the weekend, the agency said.

The agency issued a warning of floods and landslides to residents in western Japan, where heavy rainfalls were already monitored but there were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage.

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Rush to provide relief after Nigerian flood kills 102
Ibadan, Nigeria (AFP) Sept 1, 2011
Flooding that killed more than 100 people in the southwestern corner of Nigeria led to a scramble on Thursday to provide badly needed relief supplies, with homes and bridges collapsed. Families in the city of Ibadan whose homes were washed away moved in with neighbours or slept on mattresses at a school transformed into a displaced camp while aid officials rushed out medicine, food and other ... read more

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