Soldiers working on the construction of homes in Hwasong District. (Rodong Sinmun - News1)

A number of soldiers mobilized for construction work in Pyongyang’s Hwasong District have recently died from falls, Daily NK has learned. 

According to a Daily NK source in North Korea on Friday, five soldiers mobilized for interior and exterior construction work at new apartments in the district have died in falls this month alone.

Most of them fell as they were working on upper floors without proper personal safety equipment or wearing safety hooks. 

Yet, the commanders of military units mobilized for the construction continue to throw soldiers into the project with a single-minded focus on results, indifferent to safety measures. Moreover, commanders appear to be blaming the falls on the victim’s own mistakes.

In fact, the commander of the unit whose soldiers died in falls gathered his soldiers the day after one of the accidents and told them to “get their heads on straight.”

“If you strictly follow safety regulations, accidents won’t happen. Accidents are always the result of your own carelessness. If you die, it’s your loss,” he told them.

The source said the Central Committee is calling for workers to double or triple the speed of construction, so “military construction workers have no choice but to do plastering work all night.”

He added that, “People are being driven to work late into the night, but it seems impossible to avoid accidents because people aren’t machines.

“It’s hard to ensure construction quality and speed while keeping to [basic] construction principles,” he continued. “With these latest falls, there should be more efforts to prevent accidents, but military commanders are still just calling for a race against time. So it appears accidents will be unavoidable in the future, too.”

Meanwhile, construction worker-soldiers are not receiving supplies provided by the Pyongyang branch of the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea and local inminban (people’s units).

Accordingly, some of the soldiers tasked with building the homes in Hwasong are starving from lack of food, with some soldiers even collapsing from hunger.

Despite this, unit commanders are continuing to press soldiers into the construction effort, telling them that they “have no right to collapse until you’ve completed the orders handed down by the Supreme Commander [Kim Jong Un],” the source said.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Lee Chae Un is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. She can be reached at dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.