Tenants begin winterizing homes in new Hyesan apartment complex

Newly constructed apartment building in Yonhung-dong. Image: Daily NK

As residents begin moving into new apartments in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province and prepare to weatherize their homes for winter, demand for plastic sheeting is high in local markets.  

“Residents are already feeling the cold as temperatures are starting to dip into the negatives. Although verandas block some of the wind from entering the apartments, many residents are choosing to cold-proof their homes by covering all of the windows with plastic film,” a source from Ryanggang Province reported in a telephone conversation with Daily NK.

Residents have been expressing satisfaction with their apartment verandas, using them for storing food, making kimchi, and drying their laundry.

Yonhungdong Apartments, a group of apartments whose construction was managed directly by the central government, opened to new residents starting in early November. Ahead of the move-in, heaters are currently running inside the units to drive out moisture early and plans are being made to bring in furniture and other items.

As previously reported by Daily NK, other residential apartment buildings were constructed in another district of Hyesan and families began moving in at the end of October.

“Residents from one-story houses near the market area, certain workers and laborers, and some of those living near Songbong district were selected to move into the new apartments,” the source said.

From left to right, there are 3 buildings that are 9, 10 and 11 stories high. Each of the tower apartments has a floor with a corridor-style entryway. The kitchen and outer rooms are each connected to balconies, and the opposite upper room has a large window facing the elements. Residents typically apply plastic film and weather strips in this area.

“While people have been doing this for years, the sudden increase in tenants for these new apartments has driven up the demand for plastic film in the market,” a separate source in Ryanggang Province added.

The fact that the Yonhungdong Apartments were built floor by floor from underground is also a very popular feature for residents. The semi-basement design provides a secure way to limit access of non-residents to the building and also offers a makeshift storage area to the residents.   

However, most residents in Hyesan still use firewood that they buy from the market as their primary method of heating during the winter. Firewood sellers have ramped up competition this year by offering to deliver straight to the customer’s homes.

“Many are offering to deliver the firewood to the customer’s house, while some have even offered to take it inside and organize it for them as well. After one merchant offered to do this, the rest have followed suit,” said an additional Ryanggang Province-based source.

*Translated by Brian Boyle