North Korean leader Kim Jong Un berates officials over storm damage

SEOUL – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un berated “irresponsible” officials for failing to prevent damage from a tropical storm that swept through the Korean peninsula last week, state media said on Monday.

Tropical Storm Khanun, which battered Japan before taking a circuitous route towards the Korean peninsula, moved across North Korea early on Friday, bringing heavy rain to the South.

Natural disasters tend to have a greater impact on the isolated and impoverished North due to its weak infrastructure, while deforestation has left it vulnerable to flooding.

Visiting flooded farmlands in Anbyon county in the east of the country, Mr Kim said the region suffered more damage than other areas “entirely due to extremely chronic and irresponsible work attitude” of local officials, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

“The officials of the region were insensitive to the state measures and took no measure and, as a result, the region suffered much damage than other regions,” the report cited the North Korean leader as saying.

As the storm approached the peninsula, the North carried out “a dynamic campaign to cope with disastrous abnormal climate” and called for measures to minimise damage to the country’s economic output.

The North has periodically been hit by famine, with hundreds of thousands of people dying – estimates range into millions – in the mid-1990s.

The country held a high-level party meeting in February to specifically address food shortages and agricultural problems. AFP


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