Reconstruction of Ryongchon

UPDATE 3 (2014-4-4): Here is the Red Cross report on the Ryongchon explosion (PDF).

UPDATE 2 (2004-4-22): Apparently these buildings have not aged well.

UPDATE 1 (2009-11-6) : This post was picked up by Yonhap:

N. Korea’s Ryongchon blast site reborn with Soviet-era complexes
Sam Kim

ORIGINAL POST (2009-10-28): In 2004 much of the town of Ryongchon was tragically destroyed in a large explosion.  Here is the Wikipedia page on the disaster if you would like a quick reference.

I compiled a couple of images to construct this “before” picture of Ryongchon:

(Click image for larger version)

Notice that the center of town is composed largely of traditional houses.

Here is the first “after” image (which is the default image on Google Earth):

(Click image for larger version)

As you can see a large number of traditional houses were destroyed as well as a school.

Below I have compiled more recent images to show how the city was reconstructed.  Gone are the traditional homes.  They have been replaced by typical Soviet-style apartment blocks:

(Click image for larger version)