North Koreans are expressing concerns that the new hospital being built in Pyongyang will be poorly constructed, Daily NK has learned.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the Pyongyang General Hospital to be built last month and finished by October.
Daily NK sources said that the entire nation has been mobilized to take part in the project, which means construction efforts will not be hindered by the lack of materials.
They warned, however, that the project period is so short that certain construction processes – such as the curing of concrete (keeping the concrete moist or damp until it achieves its desired strength and durability) – may not be done properly.
Sources also expressed concern about the risk of construction site accidents.
“The hospital construction requires a large number of workers to ensure it’s completed on time and this could lead to many accidents,” one source said.
North Korean construction projects typically focus on speed rather than safety; as a result, many construction workers have been involved in accidents over the years, ranging from falling off high places to electrocutions.
Daily NK has long chronicled the poor conditions workers suffer under at various construction sites in the country.
Despite the risks to the workers, North Korea will stop at nothing to complete the hospital by October 10 (the founding anniversary of the country’s communist party) “even if the hospital isn’t operational for a year because of interior construction work,” one source told Daily NK.
“They will move forward with the construction completion ceremony and show Kim walking around the hospital on television,” he added.
Many North Koreans have shown negative reactions toward the building of the hospital, Daily NK sources further reported.
“Many Pyongyangites know the hospital won’t benefit them directly and aren’t happy about all the fuss,” one source said. “That kind of attitude is prevalent in Pyongyang, so you can imagine the reaction is much worse outside the city.”
North Koreans living outside of Pyongyang are likely unhappy because all the funds and materials available is going to the hospital, he added.
On Apr. 2, Rodong Sinmun claimed that “dedicated” North Koreans throughout the country were sending materials over the construction site.
The paper reported on Apr. 8 that the country had completed all the excavation work for the hospital, just 20 days after the start of the project.
*Translated by Violet Kim
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