Crisis feared as twin typhoons bring floods

Twin typhoons are renewing fears of a humanitarian crisis in North Korea, where poor drainage, deforestation and crumbling infrastructure can turn a rainstorm into a catastrophic flood.

Typhoon Bolaven struck the North on Tuesday and Wednesday, submerging houses and roads, ruining thousands of acres of crops and triggering landslides. A second major storm, Typhoon Tembin, has pounded the Korean Peninsula with more rains .

The storms come as North Korea is still recovering from earlier floods that killed more than 170 people and destroyed thousands of homes. That in turn followed a springtime drought that was the worst in a century in some areas.

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Foreign aid groups are standing by in Pyongyang, but had not received new requests for help from the North Korean government.

“These fresh storms, coming just a few weeks after the serious flooding – they do raise concerns because we see parts of the countryside battered again that have already been left in a vulnerable state,” said Francis Markus, spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in East Asia.

Tembin’s strong winds and hard rain were also pounding South Korea flooding some areas. Twenty people were dead or missing in South Korea from Bolaven, but North Korea has not released casualty details.