Typhoon Maysak causes death, destruction in Sinpo

Some workers at fisheries in the city did not heed typhoon warnings, a source told Daily NK

Around 30 people have gone missing or have died and several fisheries suffered property damage due to Typhoon Maysak in Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, Daily NK has learned.

“Sinpo Fishery Company, Yanghwa Fishery Cooperative and other fisheries have suffered a great deal of damage to their boats and facilities near the sea, some of which have been flooded,” a South Hamgyong Province-based source told Daily NK earlier today. “I also understand it’s been reported that 32 people have either died or gone missing as of 10 AM on Sept. 3.”

North Korean authorities did alert businesses in the city that a typhoon was making its way towards them, and even called on the fishing industry to take special care to prepare for the storm. It appears, however, that workers at some of the fisheries in the city did not follow these warnings.

The Sinpo Fishery Company told its boat captains to refrain from going out to sea in advance of the typhoon in the afternoon of Sept. 2, telling them to “take care” of their boats. The company also instructed people not go out to docks and wharfs; however, boat captains and other fishermen ignored these orders, the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons, told Daily NK.

Rodong Sinmun reported on Sept. 6 that Kim Jong Un had visited storm-ravaged areas of South Hamgyong Province. / Image: Rodong Sinmun

“Boats went out to sea despite the typhoon warnings with the idea that they could just turn the bows of their boats toward land and head back if the typhoon strikes, but ultimately the boats and those in them were carried away when the typhoon hit,” the source said.

What was even more unfortunate, the source said, was that the fisheries sent additional boats out to find those who had gone missing but those boats also disappeared because of the typhoon. “The government is blaming officials at the fisheries for failing to take [effective] command of the situation,” he added.

The power of the typhoon was so great that even boats tied up at wharfs and those pulled up on dry land were swept away by the storm. Meanwhile, roads were flooded and people travelling on those roads were carried away, the source further reported.

The source mentioned further that Sinpo’s Ministry of Social Security office shutdown the entrances to coastal roads and roads heading toward wharfs to prevent people from heading to the seaside. Local organizations and businesses also took efforts to find out how many people had gone missing by taking account of their employees.

Typhoon Haishen is expected to bring even more damage to the area. Korean Central Television reported yesterday that roads and bridges had become completely flooded by winds and rain from the typhoon.

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

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Lee Sang Yong is editor-in-chief of Daily NK and previously spent a number of years working as one of the publication’s foreign correspondents in China. He can be reached at dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.