Powerful Typhoon hits N Korea following floods
A POWERFUL typhoon that killed at least 10 people in South Korea has hit the North, knocking down hundreds of trees, destroying power cables and causing blackouts in a country already struggling to rebuild from earlier flooding.
Big rainstorms often mean catastrophe in North Korea because of poor drainage, deforestation and decrepit infrastructure, but the extent of wind and rain damage in the country wasn’t immediately clear after the typhoon struck on Wednesday.
Pyongyang, the capital, saw strong winds but little apparent damage. Cars splashed through slightly flooded streets, spraying people on crowded sidewalks.
Typhoon Bolaven began pummeling the North late on Tuesday, on the country’s first Youth Day since new leader Kim Jong Un took over in December. Weather officials had warned it would be the strongest typhoon to hit the region in several years, but its gusts in other parts of Asia were not as powerful as predicted.
In South Korea, Bolaven left hundreds of thousands without power, disrupted flights and temporarily halted joint war games by U.S. and South Korean military forces. The storm also churned up rough seas that smashed two fishing ships into rocks off southern Jeju island, killing five people and leaving 10 missing.
The storm killed at least five other people across South Korea.
About 1.9 million South Korean homes and businesses lost power, the National Emergency Management Agency said, though all but about 34,000 had electricity restored by Wednesday morning.
Nearly 100 families were left homeless on Wednesday because of floods or storm damage. Nearly 200 flights were canceled on Tuesday, but airports were running as normal on Wednesday.
There were 860 hectares of farmland flooded and 32 ships damaged, the agency said in a statement.
The storm came as North Korea tries to help people with food, shelter, health care and clean water after heavy flooding in July, according to a recent United Nations situation report.
Many flood victims still live in tents with limited access to water and other basic facilities, the U.N. report said.