North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his sister visit the flood-affected village | North Korea

North Korea is rebuilding itself after a season of devastating storms and hurricanes that destroyed thousands of homes.

Official media reported, Friday, that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited a village flooded by recent typhoons to watch recovery efforts, accompanied by his sister in her first public appearance about two months ago.

KCNA said Kim praised the speed of reconstruction work in the southeastern Gimhwa Prefecture during his visit with Kim Yoo Jong. “This year has been an unprecedented difficulty,” he was quoted as saying in response to the storms that swept the country in recent months.

The younger Kim, a de facto second, is believed to be in her early 30s and is the leader’s only relative with a public role in politics. It rose to prominence in March with a series of speeches against South Korea.

North storms and summer floods hit North Korea hard, destroying thousands of homes and raising fears of worsening chronic food shortages in the country.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Gimhwa Prefecture with his sister [KCNA/via Reuters]

While praising the recovery, Kim said he was “sorry” that the new homes being built in the area were of “monotonous” design. Kim Yoo Jong is seen standing in the background and walking with her brother and other officials.

Kim’s comments were the latest official criticism in the tightly controlled country.

In recent weeks, state media said Pyongyang had discovered “mistakes” in its efforts to fight COVID-19, and Kim offered a rare apology for the killing of a South Korean official in the waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula.

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On Friday, the ruling party newspaper “Rodong Sinmun” showed Kim’s tour, showing homes with red roofs and beige and white walls.

Kim said that despite the importance of speed, he hoped that “artistic harmony with the surrounding environment and diversity were appropriately combined,” the agency said.

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