Recent reports state that damage from heavy rains and hurricanes are increasing in North Korea.
According to Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) on the 30th Pyongyang and South Pyongan Province, Nampo city, North and South Hwanghae Province and parts of Jakang Province rained heavily from 6am on the 29th to 6pm the next day disclosing photos of Anju city South Pyongan Province buried in the flood.
According to KCNA, various parts of North Pyongan Province rained more than 300mm and rained about 100mm more in 20 some regions in South Pyongan Province.
The photos of Anju city revealed by the KCNA in the aftermath of the downpour reveal the flooding is severe. Homes and farmlands were buried under the rain, and some residents were forced to climb onto their rooftops to avoid the rising waters. .
According to reports from KCNA, “In the regions of Pyeongnam’s Kaecheon city, Dohwa-ri and Anju city, Ryonghwa-ri, homes were lost to the floods, roads and bridges were submerged beneath the water and destroyed and many citizens were stranded, helplessly awaiting assistance.” Stranded residents were reportedly rescued by being airlifted by plane.
One defector interviewed by Daily NK stated “Flooding can rot crops from the root to the stalk, which can seriously damage the harvest.” Kim added, “Even if the crops do not rot its yield is still affected some other way by the flood."
When it comes to the damage from flooding, North Korea’s dismal irrigation systems are making matters worse. Once houses and farms have been inundated with the rainwater, it takes a significant amount of time before they can be cleared again.
Kim went on to describe another reason why flooding in North Korea was such an acute problem, “Many North Korean homes are made from clay or stones,” Kim explained, “therefore in situations of heavy rainfall, there is no where for the water to drain. We have to wait until the land soaks up water or until it flows to the bottomlands."
In response to the flooding, a United Nations task force, headed by affiliated organization, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF), plans to visit North Korea to assess the damage.
Christopher de Bono, Chief of Communications for East Asia and the Pacific for UNICEF, stated, “A UN response will be devised after the inter-agency mission confirms the damages and gauges the immediate requirements of the affected population.”