Storms are this morning sweeping towards North Korea, raising fears that the hermit state's only remaining crops will be wiped out, plunging the country into nationwide famine. A top international aid official warned in Hong Kong yesterday that fresh floods would destroy any chance North Korea had of harvesting crucial grain crops in southern provinces. The official, who has organised dozens of food shipments to the isolated nation, said a second round of flooding was the worst fear of aid workers and North Korean leaders battling to rebuild the devastated land. Pyongyang meteorologists advised the nation on state television to prepare for large-scale flooding. Kathi Zellweger, director of International Co-operation for Caritas, said if rain continued in the south where the main grain crops were soon to be harvested, little or nothing would be left for the winter. 'It's a repetition of last year and probably worse. It's a very harsh climate, it's going to be terrible,' she said. 'The south was wiped out in 1994, 1995 and now looks like it will be hit again. There would barely be enough food for people living in the southern grain growing area if crops were hit, so the rest of the country would miss out.' Ms Zellweger, who has visited North Korea seven times monitoring food distribution, said she feared two or three more days of heavy rain could set back all rebuilding programmes and lead to a country-wide famine. The latest shipment of 3,200 tonnes of rice worth about US$1 million (HK$7.73 million) is scheduled to leave Bangkok for North Korea in the next few days. The rice was purchased with international donations. Aid workers in Pyongyang reported yesterday that hundreds of thousands of volunteers were on alert after weather forecasters predicted more torrential rains would hit soon. Floods caused by 'unprecedented' rain had killed many people in North Korea this month, causing serious damage to a nation still reeling from devastating floods last year, official media in the communist state reported on Monday. 'The weather forecast is bad: two to three days of heavy rain,' said Geoff Dennis, the representative to North Korea of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. 'The forecast is for the rain to start this afternoon . . . it's being taken very seriously,' Mr Dennis said by telephone from Pyongyang. The 300,000 volunteers of the North Korean Red Cross had been put on alert for possible evacuation and rescue work among the country's hungry populace, and to help provide early warning of possible flooding, he said.