According to a North Hamgyong Province-based source yesterday, North Korea’s Central Committee ordered events celebrating Foundation Day today to be “reduced by half” of what they were in past years and “to mobilize the entire people to areas damaged” by recent typhoons that have hit the country.
The Central Committee has been giving North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reports about the impact of the typhoons on all areas of the country; however, the leadership has reportedly faced criticism because relief efforts are going “too slowly.”
The latest order came in response to this criticism: It specifically listed the damage to areas throughout the country caused by the typhoons to show how serious the Central Committee is taking the situation, according to the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.
The source said that the order announced that a “review” of the relief efforts so far will be conducted today (Aug. 9). The order further noted that issues raised during this review will be analyzed with a view to implement the “final phase” of relief efforts by mid-September.
The Central Committee announced through the order that a second review and a final review of relief efforts will be held on Sept. 22 and Oct. 2, respectively. The order further noted that there are plans to have people affected by the typhoons move into new homes by Oct. 8, and that people involved in relief efforts would be able to return to their normal activities by that date as well.
The order also mentioned issues surrounding the supply of materials to areas damaged by the typhoons. “It had been pointed out that [the authorities] need to quickly remedy the situation by ensuring that each province can supply their own materials, outside of those provided by the state,” the source explained.
The source speculated that the order’s call to “mobilize everyone” to areas affected by the typhoons was aimed at heightening the significance of Foundation Day.
“The North Hamgyong Province Party Committee sent the Central Committee’s order down to lower level party organizations while also ordering all officials in party organizations, people’s committees and law-related officials to go to damaged areas and hold events [to celebrate Foundation Day] so they could ‘share in the joys and sorrows’ [of storm victims],” the source said.
Officials in lower-ranking party organizations in North Hamgyong Province have said that they have “never seen this level of damage [caused by typhoons before]” and that “it is the first time [the Central Committee] has given such an order,” according to the source.
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