SEOUL, South Korea — One of the most powerful typhoons to ever hit the Korean Peninsula has left five people dead and three injured in North Korea, state media reported Sunday, in its first public announcement of casualties since the storm made landfall in the country a day earlier.
Before reaching North Korea, Typhoon Lingling hit South Korea, killing three people and injuring 13 others, though the country appears to have escaped widespread damage.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, said the typhoon left 460 houses and 15 public buildings destroyed, damaged or inundated in the country. It said 46,200 hectares of farmland were buried or inundated.
KCNA said the typhoon hit North Korea from 2 p.m. Saturday to midnight Sunday. Recovery work was underway in typhoon-afflicted areas, it said.
Outside observers said rainstorms could be a catastrophe in North Korea because of poor drainage, deforestation and decrepit infrastructure in the impoverished country. South Korean media said North Korea could eventually report more typhoon-related casualties and damage.
According to a previous KCNA dispatch, leader Kim Jong Un “urgently convened” an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss disaster prevention efforts and scolded government officials who he described as “helpless against the typhoon, unaware of its seriousness and seized with easygoing sentiment.”
South Korean weather officials said the typhoon had weakened when it moved through North Korea. They said the storm was moving near Russia’s Vladivostok as of Sunday morning.
South Korea’s interior ministry said earlier Sunday that it was reviewing the damage from the typhoon and engaging in recovery work. The storm damaged buildings and knocked out power to about 161,640 homes in South Korea.
Typhoons that made a landfall in South Korea in past years caused greater damage and more casualties.