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96 injured in downpours in N. Korean border city

July 21, 2011 - 21:10 By (공용)코리아헤럴드

Recent heavy rains in North Korea have slightly injured 96 people and destroyed thousands of houses in a border city alone, an international relief agency said Thursday.

   Among the injured people, 14 patients were moved to a nearby hospital in Kaesong, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a report, without elaborating on their conditions.

   The relief agency said about 4,500 houses were either fully destroyed or partly damaged in South Hamgyong and South Hwanghae provinces, noting the preliminary data is based on its assessment of the situation in the North.

   The North's state news agency has reported that North and South Hwanghae provinces and South Hamgyong Province were hit hardest by last week's downpours.

   The report raises fresh concern that the North's already serious food shortages may worsen.

   The North was accused of doctoring a photo of flooding in Pyongyang in what could be an attempt to induce international aid, though it has yet to issue an appeal for outside aid.

   The North has relied on international handouts since the late 1990s when it suffered a massive famine that was estimated to have killed 2 million people.