By Alex Jensen
North Korea said Wednesday that it is recovering from the “worst disaster” to strike the peninsula since the end of Japanese colonial rule in 1945.
The North’s state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) made the claim as it reported that hundreds of people are dead or missing following heavy flooding caused by rains brought by Typhoon Lionrock between Aug. 29 and Sept. 2.
Tens of thousands more North Koreans are also displaced, according to both KCBS and the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -- which earlier this week cited official data when stating the death toll from flooding in the North had reached 133 with 395 missing.
On Tuesday, Pyongyang’s KCNA news agency also described the downpour in the country’s northern regions as “unprecedented in meteorological observation since the liberation of Korea”, while reporting the collapse of thousands of homes and public buildings and the destruction of cultivated land.
North Korea is already enduring food shortages having emerged from a severe famine in the mid-1990s.
But KCNA tied together the nation’s challenges with the pride of the North’s recent fifth ever nuclear test, and insisted that “the world will witness a new history in which misfortune is turned into favorable conditions.”
The UN Security Council is expected to impose even tougher measures against the already sanctioned North Korea in response to last Friday’s test.
Although international reports have mentioned the arrival of global aid for the flood-hit country, Seoul’s unification ministry revealed last week amid frayed inter-Korean ties that there had been “no official request” from Pyongyang for recovery support.