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N. Korea says typhoon caused human casualties, heavy property damage

A powerful typhoon has caused casualties in North Korea and inflicted serious damage on farmland and other industrial facilities, the North's state media said Tuesday, damage that could further worsen the country's chronic food shortages.

Typhoon Meari brought downpours and gusts to North Korea last month, destroying about 160 houses and submerging or washing away about 21,000 hectares of farmland, the North's Korean Central News Agency said.

The heavy rain has also either destroyed or submerged industrial facilities, public buildings, roads and levees, the KCNA said, without elaborating on casualties.

It said North Korea is rebuilding houses, public buildings, roads and bridges.

The development could further strain the North's economy at a time when the North is grappling with food shortages.

North Korea has been hit hard by floods in recent years, mainly because of its lack of investment in disaster control and severe deforestation.

Last year, a massive flood swept through the North Korean city of Sinuiju on the border with China, inundating thousands of houses and a vast tract of farmland while killing 14 people, according to North Korea's media and international relief agencies.

In 2007, North Korea was hit by the heaviest rainfall in 40 years, leaving some 600 people dead or missing and about 100,000 people homeless. (Yonhap News)

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