The World Food Programme will send emergency food aid to North Korea, where a series of deluges and a typhoon killed nearly 120 people and left more than 84,000 others homeless last month.

The United Nations aid body said the emergency assistance will provide the flood victims in the destitute country "with an initial ration of 400g of maize per day for 14 days."

It did not say when the food would arrive in North Korea.

Storms and downpours have caused severe flooding in a wide area of the country, and have destroyed more than 45,000 hectares of farmland.

A United Nations mission which recently visited the affected regions found considerable damage to maize, soybean and rice fields.

A comprehensive assessment of the food situation and of prospects for food production is scheduled for September, it said.

Since the mid-1990s, North Korea's agricultural sector has become increasingly vulnerable to floods and drought as a result of widespread deforestation.

In Geneva yesterday, UN agencies said access to North Korea has improved during the most recent flooding, indicating the country wants to ease its traditional isolation at least temporarily.

It remains one of the world's most reclusive states, even after young leader Kim Jong-un inherited dynastic power from his father Kim Jong-il, who died in December.

A recent UN report classified 7.2m of the country's 24m population as "chronic poor", and said one in three children suffered from poor nutrition.