North Korea Braces For A Powerful Typhoon
A powerful typhoon began battering North Korea on Saturday after lashing South Korea and causing at least three deaths.
Typhoon Lingling knocked out power to more than 161,000 homes across South Korea, including on the southern island of Jeju, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, said leader Kim Jong Un "urgently convened" an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss disaster prevention efforts and scolded government officials who he described as "helpless against the typhoon, unaware of its seriousness and seized with easy going sentiment".
Kim called for his military to drive national efforts to minimise damage from the typhoon, which he said would be an "enormous struggle" that would require the entire country to step up, the report said.
North Korea, which suffers from severe food shortages, was paying "primary attention" to protect agricultural crops and prevent damage in dikes, dams and reservoirs, KCNA said. It said officials were also moving residents in areas vulnerable to flooding and deploying "watchmen" to monitor bridges, buildings and houses.
Residents in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang were seen using umbrellas to shield themselves from wind and rain while struggling to walk through wet streets.
In South Korea, the storm toppled hundreds of trees and street lamps, blew signboards off buildings and damaged traffic signs across the mainland and Jeju.
At least 18 homes were flooded and 35 vessels were capsized or damaged while being evacuated at ports and more than 100 schools were damaged, the safety ministry said. More than 200 flights were grounded at airports nationwide, while 38 people were forced to evacuate from their flooded homes in Gwangju, a city near Seoul.
"The spire collapsed after a sudden gust of wind, hitting a building nearby and a telephone pole and falling over a car. That caused electrical sparks," Yeom Sang-min, a Seoul resident told, told TV news channel YTN.
National parks were closed, as were southern ports on the mainland and major cross-sea bridges.
The storm could possibly inflict more serious damage as it passes through North Korea, an impoverished nation that for decades has struggled to deal with natural disasters.