Photos show extent of Rason flood damage

Photos obtained by Daily NK of flood damage in Rason. Raging waters led to broken
windows, caved roofs, and destroyed personal plots on which many residents are
reliant for food. Image: Daily NK, source in North Hamgyong Province

Two days of torrential downpours in Rason,
North Hamgyong Province has wrought severe damage to the region. Today, Daily NK obtained exclusive photos today depicting the devastation left behind. 

Despite the week that has elapsed since
the rain’s onset, the city shows little in the way of reconstruction progress. As shown in the photos, sweeping currents left the area covered with debris and logs; citizens struggle to repair what they can, working on unpaved roads with shovels and their bare hands.  

All homes bear vestiges of the flood, which destroyed doors, windows, and roof tiles in its wake and scattered them across the area. Even more catastrophic are the razed kitchen gardens residents cultivate for food, little to none of which was salvageable after the rains swept through and destroyed the plots. 

“The rate of hourly precipitation on August
22nd reached 160mm, submerging entire villages,” a source in North Hamgyong Province reported today after providing Daily NK with photos. “Water levels were as high as a human being and poured
in through the windows of people’s homes unabated.”

Korean Central News Agency [KCNA] reported
the number of deaths to stand at 40, but the source dismissed these statistics
as prohibitively low, especially considering the considerable damage incurred
by factory enterprises further inland.

Meanwhile, lending weight to the source’s
estimations is the fact that the International Federation of Red Cross [IRFC] reported the number of fatalities in areas near the northeastern border
alone to be 40, with at least 11,000 flood victims otherwise affected by the flood.

Efforts to assess the extent of damage to neighboring areas of Rason are ongoing but doing so has proved difficult and the breadth and degree of the destruction remains unknown. Compounding all these issues is Pyongyang’s “ineptitude,” as the source put it, in implementing protocol and carrying out measures to combat the damage and help residents get back on their feet.

“When there’s flood damage in China, the
nation’s leader heads there personally to–at the very least–assess the
situation,” he asserted. “But the North Korean authorities aren’t doing
anything! People lack even bare necessities like sufficient food and

A dearth of available drinking water is
among the most pressing issues, according to the source, who reported that all
supplies have been contaminated. While meager food supplies are trickling out
of a few factories in Rason, none have reserves of drinkable water.

Fortunately, he said, China has stepped up
and expressed its will to help reconstruct the havoc-stricken city and North
Korean trading companies in China are readying drinking water provisions to
channel to Rason.

The flood toppled countless trees, sweeping them away with
powerful currents. Image: Daily NK