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World News

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

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un toured coastal areas hit by a typhoon, and ordered 12,000 core party members to join the recovery effort on Saturday, while dismissing a provincial party chief, state media reported on Sunday.

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North Korea’s state-run television KRT carried footage of Kim convening a meeting with North Korean officials and walking in the typhoon-hit area.

While Kim surveyed the damage caused by a typhoon that battered coastal areas last week, a tenth typhoon of the season was swirling in the East China Sea.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said more than 1,000 houses were destroyed in coastal areas of South and North Hamgyong provinces and reported that farmland and some public buildings had been inundated.

Kim led 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 had 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.

North Korea has been putting “practical measures” to minimize damage from the tenth typhoon of the season by informing people of locations of shelters and typhoon paths as well as how to respond and behave, KCNA reported.

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

Typhoon Maysak smashed into the Korean peninsula on Thursday. In South Korea, it left at least two dead and thousands temporarily without power.

Typhoon Haishen is expected to hit South Korea’s southern tip on Monday, according to South Korea’s Meteorological Administration.

Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Dan Grebler and Simon Cameron-Moore

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