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(LEAD) Telephone wires cut, residents evacuate as Typhoon Haishen approaches N. Korea

All News 15:19 September 07, 2020

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES throughout; ADDS photo)
By Yi Wonju

SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) -- Streets were flooded and telephone wires were cut Monday as North Korea came under the influence of a powerful typhoon expected to make landfall in the country's east coast later in the day, state media reported.

The North's state TV station broadcast live updates on Typhoon Haishen in the usually off-air hours Monday morning, with reporters covering the scenes from Wonsan city and Tongchon County on the east coast, such as flooded streets, cut antennae and telephone wires.

The station usually begins broadcasting at 3 p.m. on weekdays.

The North's weather agency forecast that the season's 10th typhoon will reach seas off the North's Kangwon Province at around 6 p.m. and the coastal regions of Sinpo at around 9 p.m. before passing through South Hamgyong Province and moving on to China, according to the TV station.

Haishen's intensity is similar to that of last week's Typhoon Maysak, but it is significantly bigger than Maysak, the weather agency said, adding that strong winds and high tidal waves will pound the country's eastern coast, with wind speeds predicted to reach up to 35 meters per second.

The TV station quoted a local official as saying that residents living near the shore in Tongchon County were evacuated to safer areas the previous day. It also reported that the water level of the Daedong River in Pyongyang was gradually rising as of 11 a.m. and that high waves pounded the coast of North and South Hamgyong Provinces.

In the eastern coastal town of Wonsan, vehicles were restricted on the streets due to rising water levels, the station said.

A typhoon warning was issued as heavy rain is expected to hit the country, with some regions in Kangwon Province and North Hamgyong Province receiving up to 300 to 400 millimeters of rain, the Korean Central Broadcasting Station said.

The weather agency called for strict safety measures to be taken to minimize damage from the typhoon.

Haishen is the third typhoon to hit North Korea back to back in recent weeks. Typhoon Bavi lashed the country's southwestern province of Hwanghae in late August before Maysak pounded the eastern provinces of Hamgyong and Kangwon last week.

Leader Kim Jong-un has visited the typhoon-devastated areas and called for all-out recovery efforts.

On Saturday, he visited the country's eastern South Hamgyong Province, which was hit by Typhoon Maysak last week, and presided over a Workers' Party meeting at the scene to discuss recovery efforts, according to the Korean Central News Agency on Sunday.

In an open letter sent to party members in Pyongyang, Kim said about 12,000 elite party members of the capital city will be sent to North and South Hamgyong Provinces each to help with recovery efforts, KCNA said.

Kim also called on party members, especially those in the capital, to "take the lead" in helping with recovery efforts in flood-affected areas, it said.

In response, some 300,000 North Koreans in Pyongyang have volunteered to help with recovery efforts in the two provinces, the agency reported Sunday.

Elite party members in Pyongyang also held an emergency meeting immediately after Kim's letter to discuss how to organize the division of the members and the dispatch, according to the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling party.

This image, captured from North Korea's Korean Central Television Broadcasting Station on Sept. 7, 2020, shows the expected path of Typhoon Haishen, according to the North's weather agency. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)
This photo, captured from North Korea's Korean Central TV on Sept. 2, 2020, shows vessels being brought to safety in the eastern province of Gangwon to protect against Typhoon Maysak. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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