China, North Korea on high alert after Typhoon Bavi makes landfall

BEIJING (XINHUA, REUTERS) – China’s national observatory renewed a red alert, the highest warning level, for Typhoon Bavi at 6am Thursday (Aug 27), which is expected to bring gales and rainstorms to northeast China.

The typhoon, the eighth of this year, is expected to move northward at a speed of 40-50kph before making landfall in coastal areas between Donggang City of Liaoning Province and North Pyongan province in North Korea Thursday morning, the National Meteorological Centre said.

China has a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe weather, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s KCTV state television broke into broadcasts overnight to report on the storm, showing downed trees and building debris on roads, a sign of the heightened concern after heavy rains earlier this month caused flooding and damaged crops.

Leader Kim Jong Un has issued an alert to prevent crop damage and casualties as the country guards against the coronavirus pandemic.

Martyn Williams of 38 North, a website that monitors North Korea, said it was exceptional that North Korean TV routinely interrupted movies to report storm updates.

“I believe the first time ever,” Williams said on Twitter.”It’s a clear sign of fear for loss of life and destruction.”

South Korean Meteorological Administration said the typhoon made landfall about 50km southwest of the North’s capital Pyongyang on Thursday morning.

KCTV showed a rising Taedong River in Pyongyang, after a pre-recorded video of farmers working on rice paddies.

Heavy rain earlier this month raised concern about food supplies in the isolated country, after inundating hundreds of houses and flooding vast rice-growing lands.

South Korea reported minimal damage from the storm, while international and domestic flights were cancelled.

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