North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Friday guided an emergency meeting over the inbound hurricane that is approaching the Korean Peninsula, the North’s media said.
According to an article from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim oversaw an enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
“The meeting heard a report on the analysis of the intensity, estimated course and character of Typhoon No. 13 rapidly moving towards the Korean peninsula, vulnerable areas and extent of the expected damage and discussed the issue of taking state urgent emergency measures to cope with the typhoon,” the KCNA report reads.
“At the meeting, the Supreme Leader of the Party, state and armed forces of the DPRK informed in detail about the gravity of damage to be caused by Typhoon No. 13 and typical typhoon damages which the DPRK underwent in the past.”
The hurricane — which is called Lingling in western media — is a category three storm which is forecast to hit the Korean Peninsula over the weekend.
The North’s media reported that Kim wanted to “rouse the whole party” to combat possible damage from the storm and appeared to indicate that some North Korean officials were not doing enough in preparation.
“Those ranging from senior officials of the Party and the government to officials of Pyongyang and local areas remain unchanged in their attitude and helpless against the typhoon, unaware of its seriousness and seized with easygoing sentiment,” KCNA reported.
“Noting that it is necessary to take urgent measures for thoroughly protecting the lives … he set forth tasks for every field, unit and region to organize and wage a campaign for preventing the damage by typhoon and heavy rain with the whole state, the entire Party and all the army involved, and ways to do so.”
Kim Jong Un added that the Korean People’s Army should be the “main force” to help mitigate damage from the storm but also called on “the Cabinet, ministries, national institutions, provinces, cities and counties,” to do their part.
“(Kim) called on provincial, city and county Party committees to take full measures in advance to protect the lives and property of the people,” the report added.
“Noting that the prevention of damage by Typhoon No. 13 is an enormous struggle, he expressed his firm belief that all the officials would carry out their tasks in a responsible way and thus achieve adequate successes.”
North Korea typically only has limited resources to minimize the damage from adverse or extreme weather events and is susceptible to droughts and floods.
In August last year, tropical storm Soulik caused widespread flooding in parts of the DPRK, with thousands of people displaced by the heavy rainfalls.
The heavy rains also often damage hundreds of buildings and inundate thousands of hectares of farmland.
According to a Red Cross assessment on the effects of last year’s storm, 76 people were killed, 3,200 houses were destroyed and over 10,000 people were displaced.
Findings from the report suggested that North Korea needs to improve early warning systems, better safeguard and protect infrastructure, fortify river banks, improve gullies and waterways, reduce forestry depletion, and better plan around forecasted extreme weather events.
Featured image: KCNA