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North Koreans told top priority is to protect Kim Jong-un portraits ahead of deadly storm



North Koreans bracing for the arrival of tropical storm Khanun have been told their “foremost focus” should be on “ensuring the safety” of the propaganda portraits of the ruling Kim dynasty.

Pictures of North Korea’s current dictator, Kim Jong-un, as well as of his father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung must be displayed in all homes and offices around the hermit country.

Those who damage the images of the dynasty’s members, even by mistake, can face execution.

North Koreans have also been urged by Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party, to make every effort to safeguard statues, monuments and murals of their leaders scattered around the country.

After battering Japan over the past week, on Thursday Khanun made landfall in South Korea, where it killed one person.

The tropical storm first reached the peninsula’s southeast coast and travelled upwards towards Seoul.

Khanun’s arrival prompted the evacuation of more than 10,000 people and sparked travel chaos, with hundreds of flights and trains cancelled.

The southern inland city of Daegu was completely submerged, and other areas were hit by floods and landslides sparked by heavy rains and strong winds.

South Korea had already been hit last month by torrential rain and flash floods, which killed more than 40 people.

Khanun, which is expected to move from South to North Korea on Friday, could bring utter devastation to the hermit country, plagued by weak and old infrastructure and deforestation, making it more vulnerable to flooding.

Moreover, the country is believed to be once again on the brink of famine, according to reports made by brave North Koreans, and a natural disaster of this kind may have devastating consequences on the population.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency has claimed ahead of the tropical storm’s arrival that “all the sectors and units” in the country were “conducting a dynamic campaign to cope with disastrous abnormal climate”.

The attention brought on the images of the Kim dynasty, which started ruling North Korea when it was created in 1948, amid a potential national crisis can be explained by the cult of personality existing in the nation.

Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University, told to NK News the pictures and statues of Kim Jong-un and his family aren’t simple images, are “sacred religious symbols, essentially icons”.

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