A typhoon which hit North Korea on Saturday caused major damage to housing and agriculture and left five people dead, the country’s state media reported on Sunday.
The typhoon, named internationally as Lingling but referred to by North Korean media as “Typhoon-13,” hit the country at 1400 KST yesterday.
Citing the country’s State Emergency Disaster Committee, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that “five persons were dead and three persons injured.”
“The injured persons are now under treatment at hospitals,” it continued. “A nationwide tally showed that more than 460 houses of 210 blocks and 15 blocks of public buildings were completely or partly destroyed or inundated.”
The storm also cause significant damage to crops, with KCNA reporting that they had “fell down, inundated or buried in 46,200 hectares of farmland.”
“Active work to eradicate the aftermath is now under way in the afflicted areas.”
KCNA also reported in a Korean language dispatch that the roof had blown off a smelter in Haeju city, and that a roof collapse in Unchon-gun had caused several casualties.
Hundreds of rice fields were also reportedly destroyed, with the country’s agricultural sector said to have “suffered a lot of damage.”
Damage to power stations was also said to have caused blackouts in Chongdan County and in the cities of Haeju and Kaesong.
Housing across the DPRK’s south east and west, which appears to have borne the brunt of the storm, was reportedly destroyed.
“In Pyongyang, North Hwanghae and South Hamgyong, many roofs were blown away, the tiles were peeled off, and the walls collapsed,” KCNA reported, adding that the storm had also caused traffic accidents and landslides.
Saturday’s evening news also reported on extensive damage and flooding in the cities of Kaesong and Sariwon, with footage showing roads inundated with water and many roofs destroyed.
Sunday’s 2000 KST news, in turn, reported on efforts underway to fight the damage to crops and infrastructure across the country’s southern provinces.
Typhoon Lingling also caused major damage in South Korea, with the storm making landfall on the country’s east coast earlier on Saturday.
Three people are reported to have been killed and 23 are reportedly injured. Hundreds of flights were delayed, and thousands of hectares of farm land are said to have been destroyed.
But in the North, already reported to be facing a “food crisis” this year, significant damage to crops and widespread flooding could have a greater impact.
Ahead of Lingling’s arrival on the peninsula, the International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned in a statement that “as many as 5.3 million people” were at risk.
“Strong winds, flash floods and landslides pose risk of serious injury and loss of life, damage to homes and infrastructure and destruction of vital crops,” Mohamed Babiker, Head of the IFRC’s North Korean country office, said in a statement.
“Typhoon Lingling represents just the latest in a long line of challenges that communities in DPR Korea face, including severe food shortages as a result of ongoing drought.”
North Korea is particularly vulnerable to damage from major storms: flooding in the country caused by Tropical Storm Soulik last September was at the time reported to have killed 86 and displaced 65,000.
Ahead of Lingling’s arrival on the peninsula, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un convened an emergency meeting of the country’s top military brass.
The meeting was intended to “rouse the whole party” to combat possible damage from the storm, state media said, and appeared to suggest 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 Kim as having said.
Featured image: KCTV