[Photos] North Korean authorities improve treatment of laborers at Wonsan-Kalma

Housing for storm troops mobilized for the Wonsan-Kalma Shore Tourist Zone construction project in Kangwon Province, North Korea. /Image=Daily NK

The North Korean authorities have reportedly been improving the conditions for storm troops mobilized at the Wonsan-Kalma Shore Tourist Zone construction project by providing rations and accommodation.

“The brigades and regular construction storm troops in each province are working in better conditions. Provisions for construction laborers have significantly improved,” a source in Kangwon Province said in a telephone conversation with Daily NK on June 22.

“Temporary structures are being used to provide accommodation for each of the brigades, but the building interiors are decorated like a family home, allowing the workers to rest properly. The houses were built in a secluded area away from private residences so that the people mobilized for the project would be able to relax in peace after a day’s work.”

Storm troops dispatched to national construction projects in North Korea had previously stayed at the houses of local residents. Because proper meals were not provided, the soldiers frequently stole goods such as soybean paste from these private homes.

As such, construction projects were a frequent cause of conflict and antagonism between local residents and the military.

“Residents are also happy with the separation of housing areas, because they help prevent incidents,” he explained.

“Currently, soldiers and residents are happy that supplies are being provided directly from the central government. Regarding the lunchboxes that were being procured from institutions, businesses, the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea, and students in the past, instructions were given to only ‘receive those voluntarily provided by residents,’ so the burden on residents has been reduced.”

There has also been positive feedback from the authorities. “Building all the lodges for each brigade together in one area has allowed them to reduce the number of security personnel, and the command seems to be satisfied because they can check everyone who is leaving the area at the entrance,” a separate source in Kangwon Province said.

Furthermore, it is said that Kim Jong Un has ordered the construction of the Wonsan-Kalma Tourist City to be completed by next year’s Day of the Sun (Kim Il Sung’s birthday, April 15) and all residents in the area are focusing their efforts on the project.

The additional source added that in each province, notifications have been issued to relevant institutions and enterprises calling for the return of absent workers.

“Overall, the conditions have improved, but there is still pressure to ‘finish the job quickly,’” he said.

Slogans on display at the Wonsan-Kalma Shore Tourist Zone construction site in Kangwon Province, North Korea. /Image=Daily NK


Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.