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(2nd LD) Typhoon Maysak causes heavy flood damage in eastern regions of N. Korea

All News 15:43 September 03, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more info; ADDS photo)
By Yi Wonju

SEOUL, Sept. 3 (Yonhap) -- Typhoon Maysak dumped torrential rains in eastern parts of North Korea on Thursday, triggering heavy flooding in the coastal city of Wonsan and causing residents near Mount Kumgang to evacuate to safer areas, state media reported.

The Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station has been running breaking news in real time and updates on the ninth tropical storm of the season nearly every hour since 6 p.m. Wednesday.

"Typhoon No. 9 as of 10 a.m. has reached the sea about 90 kilometers south of Kimchaek City. The country's entire eastern region has come under the influence of the typhoon ... and it landed near Kimchaek city after 11 a.m.," the station reported.

The North, however, anticipated Typhoon Maysak to weaken throughout the country in the afternoon.

"(The typhoon) has weakened due to low pressure, and we expect it to drastically weaken further and leave our country after passing near Musan county," the station reported around noon.

The North also lifted its warning for heavy rainfall and strong winds issued earlier in the entire country, the station said.

"The intensity of the winds were not as powerful as it was during Typhoon Bavi," it said.

The North's weather agency forecast that rainfall will continue in Hamgyong Province and in the northern regions, with strong winds in some areas, but most areas will not be affected by the typhoon in the afternoon.

Typhoon Maysak is characterized by heavy rainfall more than strong winds, the station said.

Among the regions affected by heavy rainfall was the country's eastern coastal town of Wonsan, which received up to 132 millimeters of rain in just three hours.

The station ran real-time video footage showing buildings and streets in downtown Wonsan surrounded by water at 6 a.m., including a square used to hold major political events.

This image, captured from North Korea's Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station, shows a flooded street in the eastern coastal town of Wonsan on Sept. 3, 2020. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

It also reported heavy damage in Kumgang and Tongchon counties in Kangwon Province.

Kumgang County, near the scenic Mount Kumgang, evacuated residents to safe areas as heavy rain that reached up to 120 millimeters as of 9 a.m. flooded the area. Roads were prohibited from access after a bridge was damaged, it added.

In Tongchon county, the height of waves reached 7 meters as of 8 a.m., with strong winds of more than 15 meters per second. Heavy rainfall flooded many crops fields and roads were blocked due to landslides, according to a county official.

The station also broadcasted updates on the typhoon through reporters covering the scene live in areas most affected, including Goseong and Wonsan in Kangwon Province and Sinpo and Hamheung in Hamgyong Province.

The North has been running real-time news updates since Typhoon Bavi last week. It is rare for the North's media to carry live news coverage from areas affected by a typhoon, considering that it normally does not reveal details of natural disasters.

Earlier, the North's official Koren Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Premier Kim Tok-hun visited eastern regions hit by last week's Typhoon Bavi and called for speedy recovery efforts while also instructing officials to prioritize minimizing damage from the new storm.

Kim "made a field survey of the recovery from flood damage in Kimhwa and Phyonggang counties of Kangwon Province" and stressed the need to "accelerate the rehabilitation projects" so as to mark the 75th founding anniversary of its ruling Workers' Party on Oct. 10, KCNA added.

This image, captured from North Korea's Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station, shows an announcer reporting on Typhoon Maysak live from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan on Sept. 3, 2020. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)
This image, captured from North Korea's Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station, shows part of a damaged bridge in the county of Kumgang in Kangwon Province on Sept. 3, 2020. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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