Ski Resort Turns to Propaganda Disaster

Lee Sang Yong  |  2013-07-25 16:18
“Masikryeong Skiing Ground,” a key element in state propaganda for the new regime of Kim Jong Eun, recently met with disaster after a portion of the construction site collapsed following seasonal rains. Now, an inside source has told Daily NK that additional heavy rains have caused landslides, heavily damaging neighboring homes and farms.

According to the source, the damage was caused by the removal of trees from the slopes of the planned ski resort. However, it was also exacerbated by two further factors: ▲ that personnel dispatched from Pyongyang were only concerned with restoring the skiing ground; and ▲ that there was negligent disregard for flood control measures to ensure that water would flow in a controlled way.

The source, who originally hails from Gangwon Province, told Daily NK, “In recent days there was a landslide at Masikryeong Skiing Ground, so cornfields and rice paddies in the vicinity have been completely submerged. People were completely defenseless at the sudden inundation.”

The source followed up, “Along with the rain, drainage ditches have become clogged with the muddy water and sand that flowed down from the ski resort construction site, so the fields remain flooded. People have been complaining that preparations were not made before the trees were cut down.”

A South Korean intelligence official gave cautious backing to the story, saying, “It seems that the area was seriously damaged by heavy rain since there is no grass on the steep Masikryeong slopes. Considerable manpower has been introduced to try and recover it.” According to the South Korean state meteorological agency, 420mm of rain fell in the area between July 10th and 14th, and continued to fall less intensely thereafter.

The project to recover the Masikryeong Ski Ground project is a particularly urgent one, because the construction has been trumpeted as one of Kim Jong Eun’s main state projects, designed to feed into propaganda about him being a young man with a drive to make North Korea more powerful through science, technology, and sport. The authorities have even launched a nationwide campaign rooted in the slogan “Masikryeong Speed,” meaning that failure is not an option.

The source informed Daily NK that the personnel mobilized for the recovery effort have been drawn from universities in Hamheung in South Hamkyung Province, as well as Hamju and Jeongpyeong counties.

Initial news of damage to the Masikryeong area was provided by representative Shin Young Sun of “Pureun namu [Green Tree Charity Foundation],” a group that sends aid to North Korea. Speaking with the South Korean media, Shin stated, “There has been a lot of rain in the Gangwon province since the night of the 11th. They’ve suffered floods and landslides. There has also been a landslide at Masikryeong. I heard that support personnel have been sent there from Pyongyang.”
 
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