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North postpones Arirang festival once again due to flooding

Aug 28,2007
Due to severe flooding in the country, North Korea has temporarily suspended Arirang, its regular series of mass games, the country’s state-run media reported yesterday.
The Korea Central News Agency said the mass gymnastics and dance performances will be canceled for the time being because laborers around the nation are being mobilized for flood recovery projects. The report said the Arirang festival will resume after North Korea recovers, but did not give any specific date.
This year’s festival was scheduled to run from Aug. 1 through mid-October. Foreigners, including Americans, visited Pyongyang to see the performances earlier this month.
It is the second time the communist regime had to cancel its series of performances, which require about 100,000 participants per show.
Last year, the North announced the cancellation after severe flooding in July.
This year’s flood damage is believed to be greater than that of last year, but the North has shown determination to continue the event this year. Despite the state of national emergency, which even postponed the scheduled inter-Korean summit to October, the country said on Aug. 21 the performances would go on as planned.
The death toll continues to rise after days of downpours that started on Aug. 7. “Torrential rain, strong winds and landslides left at least 600 people dead or missing and thousands of people wounded,” the Korea Central News Agency said on Sunday.
Due to floods, about 100,000 have become homeless and 8,000 public buildings have been destroyed, the report said.


By Ser Myo-ja Staff Writer [myoja@joongang.co.kr]



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