Dozens killed in North Korea typhoon

North Korean residents look at floodwaters in Wonsan, North Korea (3 September) More than 8,300 homes and 230 public buildings were destroyed by Typhoon Kompasu

Dozens of people died in North Korea in floods and landslides caused by a typhoon which hit the country earlier this month, state media has said.

It is the first casualty toll from Typhoon Kompasu given by the Korean Central News Agency.

Nearly 9,000 buildings were destroyed and roads, railways and power lines were badly damaged, the report said.

It has prompted speculation that a rare ruling party conference has been delayed to deal with the situation.

Good Friends, a South Korean humanitarian group with contacts in the North, said the meeting had been postponed as many delegates were unable to travel.

North Korea had said the meeting would convene for the first time in 30 years in early September, without giving a specific date.

Many analysts expect the meeting to give some indication of who will succeed Kim Jong-il.

Emergency aid

Typhoon Kompasu hit the Korean peninsula on 2 September.

"Several dozen people have died throughout the country due to torrential rain, strong winds and landslide," the KCNA said.

More than 8,300 homes and 230 public buildings were destroyed and over 30,000 hectares of farmland were ruined, the agency said.

Some 65km (40 miles) of railway tracks were also washed away.

Earlier this week, South Korea said it would deliver rice and other aid to North Korea within a month, amid some signs of a thaw in relations between the two neighbours.

The aid, proposed by Seoul last month, will be the first since the March sinking of a South Korean warship.

Seoul says North Korea sank the ship, but Pyongyang denies this.

North Korea relies on food aid to feed its people, and it has also been hard-hit this year by flooding.

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