Red Cross: Floods affect 600,000 in North Korea

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Flooding affecting hundreds of thousands in North Korea
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Flooding affecting hundreds of thousands in North Korea
In this image made from TV made available Sunday Oct. 2, 2016, local officials and people labor to build new homes at a construction site in Hoeryong City, North Korea, Thursday Sept. 29, 2016, as most people are still living in temporary shelters amid rubble and mud-caked areas of destruction left in the wake of massive flooding. One month after devastating floods hit this remote area of North Korea, the Red Cross is calling for urgent help for the thousands of people who are desperate to rebuild their lives before harsh winter conditions set in. (Red Cross via AP)
In this image made from TV made available Sunday Oct. 2, 2016, Red Cross staff and other officials inspects temporary shelters amid rubble and mud-caked areas of destruction left in the wake of massive flooding in Hoeryong City, North Korea, Wednesday Sept. 28, 2016. One month after devastating floods hit this remote area of North Korea, the Red Cross is calling for urgent help for the thousands of people desperate to rebuild their lives before harsh winter conditions set in. (Red Cross via AP)
In this image made from TV made available Sunday Oct. 2, 2016, temporary shelters set up for victims amid rubble and mud-caked areas of destruction left in the wake of massive flooding in Hoeryong City, North Korea, Wednesday Sept. 28, 2016. One month after devastating floods hit this remote area of North Korea, the Red Cross is calling for urgent help for the thousands of people desperate to rebuild their lives before harsh winter conditions set in. (Red Cross via AP)
In this image made from TV made available Sunday Oct. 2, 2016, Red Cross staff and other officials inspects damage to a building, as people live in temporary shelters amid rubble and mud-caked areas of destruction left in the wake of massive flooding in Hoeryong City, North Korea, Wednesday Sept. 28, 2016. One month after devastating floods hit this remote area of North Korea, the Red Cross is calling for urgent help for the thousands of people who are trying to rebuild their lives before harsh winter conditions set in. (Red Cross via AP)
In this image made from TV made available Sunday Oct. 2, 2016, a Red Cross staff and other officials inspects damage to a school building, as people live in temporary shelters amid rubble and mud-caked areas of destruction left in the wake of massive flooding in Hoeryong City, North Korea, Wednesday Sept. 28, 2016. One month after devastating floods hit this remote area of North Korea, the Red Cross is calling for urgent help for the thousands of people who are trying to rebuild their lives before harsh winter conditions set in. (Red Cross via AP)
FILE- In this Friday, Sept, 16, 2016, file photo, workers repair the flood-damaged train track between Sinjon and Kanphyong train stations in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)
FILE - In this Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, file photo, workers recover cement blocks from flood-damaged areas in Onsong, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea. More than 70,000 people displaced by severe flooding in North Korea nearly a month ago are urgently in need of supplies and shelter before winter sets in, a Red Cross official in Pyongyang said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)
In this Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 file photo, workers repair the flood-damaged train track between SinJon and KanPhyong train stations in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)
Workers repair the flood-damaged train track between Sinjon and Kanphyong train stations in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers recover cement blocks from flood-damaged areas in Onsong, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers recover cement blocks from flood-damaged areas in Onsong, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers recover cement blocks flood-damaged areas in Onsong, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers recover useable materials flood-damaged areas in Onsong, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers repair the flood-damaged train track between Sinjon and Kanphyong train stations in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers recover cement blocks from flood-damaged areas in Onsong County, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers repair the flood-damaged train track between Sinjon and Kanphyong train stations in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers repair the flood-damaged train track between Sinjon and Kanphyong train stations in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers repair the flood-damaged train track between Sinjon and Kanphyong train stations in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Workers repair the flood-damaged train tracks between Sinjon and Kanphyong train stations in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016. North Korean soldiers and relief teams rushed to clear roads and railway tracks, build shelters and provide food and sanitation Friday to tens of thousands of residents in a remote part of the country near the Chinese border that was devastated by heavy downpours and flash-floods when a typhoon pounded their villages last week. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
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SEOUL, Oct 3 (Reuters) - At least 600,000 people in North Korea have been affected by heavy flooding that damaged or destroyed 30,000 homes, the Red Cross said, calling for urgent humanitarian aid ahead of the winter.

"The disaster hit, in many ways, at probably the worst time," said Chris Staines, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) delegation in North Korea.

The IFRC has been working with North Korea's Red Cross Society to deliver aid to northeastern communities that suffered the worst of the flooding caused by heavy rains in late August.

Staines said "urgent action" was needed before the first snowfall expected in late October when temperatures fall below freezing, and can reach minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 Fahrenheit) in mid-winter.

"This is seriously harsh conditions and that's why we need much more permanent solutions in terms of shelter, in terms of the health services and the access to food, and sorting out issues around safe water," he said.

The IFRC has launched a 15.2 million Swiss Francs ($15.6 million) emergency appeal to reach more than 300,000 people with humanitarian assistance over the next 12 months.

The IFRC released video footage it said was taken last week in North Hamgyong province that showed damaged buildings and displaced people living in rows of temporary shelters.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sept. 12 that, according to figures based on government data, 133 people had been killed and 395 were missing.

News of the disaster has come as North Korea appears even more isolated from its neighbors and the wider world after its fifth nuclear test last month.

Widespread deforestation for fuel and farming has made the impoverished country prone to natural disasters, especially floods.

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