North Korea leader tours typhoon-hit area, directs recovery effort

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday toured areas hit by a typhoon, replaced a local provincial party committee chairman and ordered Pyongyang officials to lead a recovery effort, state media reported on Sunday.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said more than 1,000 houses were destroyed along the coastline areas of South and North Hamgyong provinces and “not a few public buildings and farmlands were inundated.”

Kim led a an enlarged executive policy committee meeting on recovery efforts in the typhoon-hit areas, focusing on detailed measures such as organization of building crews to be dispatched to the areas, designs and material transport, KCNA said.

At the meeting, he also dismissed the chairman of the South Hamyong provincial party committee and appointed a new chairman.

North Korea’s ruling party has called for punishment of officials whose failure to follow orders results in “dozens of casualties” during typhoons, the country’s official party newspaper reported on Saturday.

Separately, Kim sent an open letter to party members in the capital noting that this year has witnessed “uncommon difficulties due to the protracted worldwide public health crisis” and natural disasters. It added that the Party Central Committee decided to dispatch 12,000 party members from Pyongyang to the typhoon-hit areas to help communities recover.

The isolated country has been grappling with torrential rains, floods and typhoons in one of the wettest rainy seasons on record.

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