A U.N. team will visit North Korea from Tuesday to assess the damage from recent floods caused by a heavy downpour that has left 88 people dead and 63,000 displaced.
The North Korean administration, however, is yet to respond with a detailed plan to tackle the catastrophe, even as leader Kim Jong-un and his newly wed wife Ri Sol-ju reportedly enjoyed a musical performance commemorating the anniversary of the Korean War armistice.
The UN trip follows a meeting between the organization and North Korean officials Monday, at which Pyongyang presented its assessment of the damage caused by the floods that occurred between July 18 and 25, Christopher de Bono, chief of communications for East Asia and the Pacific for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), told Reuters Monday.
The team will visit the worst-hit South Pyongan and Kangwon provinces while Pyongyang's state media said more rivers and dams were expected to overflow if rains persisted.
"We have agreed to send an inter-agency rapid assessment team to the two most affected counties Tuesday," said de Bono.
South Korea's Unification Ministry said Monday that its neighbor had not requested any aid from international agencies.
About 74,700 acres of farmland was reportedly damaged while the state remains ill-equipped to deal with food shortages which have been recurrent since the mid-1990s.
Some 16 million people, which is two-thirds of the population, depend on the state rationing system and suffer varying degrees of sustained food insecurity, stated the six UN agencies, operating inside North Korea, in a report released in June.
Despite international efforts to assist Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un's administration remained silent about the crisis except for a brief statement that appeared in the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) Sunday.
The state-run news agency Monday carried a lengthy article with details of Kim and his new wife attending a musical performance on the anniversary of the 1953 truce accord that ended the war between South Korea and the North.
"When the female vocal sextet 'Our Beloved Leader' resounded with the image of tender-hearted Marshal Kim Jong-un taking care of the big family of the country and giving it happiness projected against the backdrop, the audience stood to give stormy applause," the KCNA report said.
In a recent power shuffle, Kim had taken over the title of marshal after displacing Ri Yong-ho, the chief of Korean People's Army.
Kim had been a general since September 2010, and the new title elevated him to the rank held by his father during his 17 years as North Korea's leader.
In the KCNA report and the photographs published last week, Kim was seen enjoying roller coaster rides in an island park near the capital.
The "supreme leader" of North Korea seemed to enjoy the trip to the amusement park that was eulogized as a "grand edifice" and "Socialist wealth to hand down for all ages."
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