POSTED: 10:37 p.m. HST, Sep 14, 2010
SEOUL, South Korea — A typhoon killed dozens of people and destroyed roads, railways and thousands of homes in North Korea early this month, the reclusive state's media reported Wednesday.
It was the first confirmation from the North of the extent of the damage inflicted by Typhoon Kompasu that hit the divided Korean peninsula on Sept. 2 — also killing five people in South Korea.
The typhoon struck as impoverished North Korea struggled to recover from flooding last month that battered its northwest.
The official Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday that landslides, strong winds and heavy rains caused by the typhoon killed "dozens" of people.
Heavy rains washed away 30,000 hectares (74,130 acres) of farmland, and landslides "completely ravaged" railroads and tracks.
It said that about 8,380 houses were destroyed and many people were staying in public shelters.
Electricity and drinking water have been cut in some areas and disruption to traffic was delaying the delivery of food and medical supplies.
"Considerable amount of difficulties have been imposed in stabilizing the people's livelihood," KCNA said.
North Korea's economy is already weak and it relies on outside food aid to feed many of its 24 million people.
South Korea, whose current conservative government has previously cut aid to its communist rival, said Monday it would send 5,000 tons of rice and other aid to flood victims in the North.
Late last month, an overflowing river swamped farmland, houses and public buildings in and around the northwestern city of Sinuiju. About 23,000 people were displaced, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. South Korea's Red Cross said that in all, an estimated 80,000-90,000 people were affected by the flooding.