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North’s Kim again inspects typhoon-hit area, vows swift recovery

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Saturday toured a province hit by Typhoon Maysak after convening a meeting there where he discussed countermeasures and replaced the provincial party committee chairman, the Korean Central News Agency said Sunday.

“We can’t let our people here go on without homes when our national holiday is nearing,” Kim was quoted as saying at the meeting before visiting South Hamgyong Province. The regime celebrates the anniversary of its ruling party Oct. 10.

More than 1,000 houses were destroyed along the east coast in South and North Hamgyong provinces, where farmland and public facilities were flooded.

In early August, Kim paid a rare visit to the Hwanghae provinces, which border South Korea, before Typhoon Bavi inflicted further crop damage. Kim directed recovery efforts and consoled displaced residents there.

At the Saturday meeting, Kim instructed party aides and the military to help with recovery efforts and named a new chairman of the South Hamgyong provincial party committee in an attempt to calm public frustration over the typhoon damage.

Separately, Kim sent an open letter to party members in the capital, Pyongyang, promising to dispatch 12,000 key party members to the Hamgyong provinces to speed up the recovery, according to the state-run newspaper Sunday.

North Korea saw extensive crop and property damage when its farmlands and buildings were inundated by recent heavy rains, in another blow to the cash-strapped regime already grappling with an economy battered by international sanctions.

The floods, along with the coronavirus outbreak, have worsened the food crisis in the North, where 3 in 5 residents, or 15.3 million people, are estimated to face undernutrition this year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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