North Korea braced for powerful typhoon

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Media captionTyphoon Lingling has arrived in North Korea, after battering the South

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has chaired an emergency meeting of government officials as a powerful typhoon began to batter the country.

Typhoon Lingling has caused widespread disruption across South Korea, with at least three people killed and thousands of homes left without power.

There are fears that the storm could damage crops in the North, which suffers severe food shortages.

State media said Mr Kim scolded officials for their lack of action.

He described them as “helpless against the typhoon, unaware of its seriousness and seized with easygoing sentiment”, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The government was giving “primary attention” to the protection of crops as well as dams and reservoirs, KCNA said.

Residents in areas prone to flooding were being evacuated and “watchmen” were monitoring key infrastructure such as bridges and buildings, the agency added.

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In South Korea the typhoon toppled thousands of trees and disrupted hundreds of flights

Lingling made landfall in South Korea earlier on Saturday and was heading north with winds gusting up to 140 km/h (86 mph), the South’s Yonhap news agency reported.

Earlier this year, the UN warned that up to 10 million North Koreans were “in urgent need of food assistance”.

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Typhoon Lingling battered Seoul and led to the closure of many roads

Pyongyang acknowledged it was suffering its worst drought in 37 years and called on citizens to “battle” against crop damage caused by it.

In 2017, North Korea was hit by a serious drought which ravaged its production of staple crops such as rice, maize, potatoes and soybean.

It is not known exactly what impact this had, but reports at the time said many faced malnutrition and death.

In the 1990s, a devastating famine is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of North Koreans.

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North Korea said it had seen the lowest rainfall earlier this year since 1982

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