SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Leader Kim Jong Un visited parts of southern North Korea where days of torrential rains have flooded hundreds of houses and vast areas of agricultural land, state media reported Friday.
The Korean Central News Agency said Kim inspected a town in North Hwanghae province where a water levee gave way due to the heavy rains and rainstorm.
It said the levee break left more than 730 single-floored houses and 600-odd hectares of rice field inundated and 179 housing blocks destroyed in Unpha County. KCNA said no human casualties have been reported.
KCNA said Kim visited the scene and ordered shelters arranged for displaced people and residents to be supplied with food grain from his own reserves.
Kim also said officials will be dispatched to direct works to build 800 model houses in the town and that the army will be mobilized to rebuild roads and other infrastructure there with local residents.
North Korea often suffers heavy damage from summer rains due to poor drainage, deforestation and dilapidated infrastructure. North Hwanghae province is a main agricultural region in North Korea.
Friday’s KCNA dispatch didn’t mention possible flood-related damages in other parts of North Korea.
Kim’s visit to the town could be seen an effort to bolster an image of a leader caring about public livelihoods at a time when the North’s economic woes are believed to have worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic that forced it to close its border with China, its biggest trading partner, in January. Extensive flooding would add to the North’s economic troubles.