, North Korea – Kim Jong-Un, North Korean leader, happily smiled for the camera as seen in photos posted on the website of the official news agency of North Korea. The photos, which circulated online, were taken when he visited confined children and orphans at the Taesongsan General Hospital days after the tragic collapse of a 23-storey tower apartment in Pyongyang.
According to the official news agency of North Korea, Korean Central News Agency, the 31-year-old leader together with his wife Ri-Sol Ju sought visit because of Kim Jong-Un’s ‘difficulty of sleeping’ following the accident. Kim was reported to sit up all night, feeling painful after being told about the accident.
A KNCA report described that upon Kim’s entry to the sickrooms, the children rushed to his arms asking “How are you, Marshal?” and “Let me come to your arms.” He held the children in his arms and was pleased to see them all looked well and healthy.
The children sang “We are the happiest in the world” and gave thanks to the leader as the report said.
The North Korean Tragedy
The collapse of the 23-storey building was reported Sunday morning by KCNA. No details of how many died in the said tragedy, but the news revealed that the accident was serious and distraught North Korea’s leader. Basing from the same report, the 23-storey tower collapsed on Tuesday, May 13, at the Phyongchon district because of inadequate structure and irresponsible supervision and control. Rescue operations ended Saturday, May 17.
The state admitted its liability and forced the Senior North Korean officials to make a public apology to all the bereaved families. Minister of People’s Security, Choe Pu-Il said that he “repented of himself, admitting that he failed to find out factors that can put at risk the lives and properties of the people and to take thorough going measure, thereby causing an unimaginable accident.”
Along with Choe Pu-Il who sought public apology was Chief Secretary of the City Committee Kim Su-Gil.
According to South Korean officials, the informally occupied building housed 92 families. The casualties could reached hundreds since a typical North Korean family has four members. However, there is no clear information if the residents were inside the building at the time of collapse or that four people lived in each household as assumed by the South Korean officials.
Meanwhile, residents expressed their grief and outrage over the tragic incident.
Park Chol, a resident in Pyongyang, told The Associated Press that the said accident happened because they [the officials] broke the rules and methods.
“After this accident, we must make sure that this kind of terrible accident never happens again, by sticking to the proper method of building,” Park added.
Another resident, Hong Nam Hyok told reporters that everyone in Pyongyang is sharing the sorrow of the victims and the bereaved families.