North Korea reports on 'unimaginable' building collapseUpdated: 2014-05-19 06:28:28 (KST)
North Korea called it an "unimaginable" accident, after an unfinished 23-story apartment building collapsed in Pyongyang, reportedly injuring hundreds of people.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday the collapse occurred last Tuesday due to the result of "irresponsible" supervision.
The report did not provide a death toll, but said a search and rescue operation had been carried out to find survivors and treat the injured.
Leader Kim Jong-un reportedly "sat up all night" in pain after being told about the accident."
He "instructed leading officials of the party, state and the army to rush to the scene and command the rescue operation."
The agency published lengthy apologies from senior officials, including Minister of People's Security Choe Pu-il, who apologized for putting lives and property at risk.
A South Korean official, who wished to remain anonymous, said although the 23-story apartment building was still under construction, 92 families were already living there.
He said it's common in the North for people to move in before construction officially ends and said the final death toll was likely to be considerable.
It's extremely rare for North Korea's state media to report on an accident such as this and for high-ranking officials to issue an apology.
Experts say the report was likely meant to show young Kim as a leader who cares about the people and to prove the North Korean government better than the South by drawing a comparison between the building collapse and the sinking of the Sewol-ho ferry.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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