Archive for the ‘Natural disasters’ Category

North Korean emphasis on disaster risk prevention continues

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

It’s fully logical given the flooding season, but nonetheless interesting to note, that the emphasis on disaster management by the North Korean regime seems to continue. I’ve previously covered this issue at 38 North. A recent data point is this following article from Rodong Sinmun on July 13th:

More Measures Taken to Prevent Natural Disaster Damage in DPRK

An intensive campaign for minimizing damage by natural disaster in the rainy season is underway across the DPRK.

Cities and counties in South Hamgyong Province push ahead with reinforcing embankments and getting rid of dangerous factors.

They carried out an anti-landslide project and take due measures to protect roads, farmlands, dwelling houses and public buildings, while awakening the public to the importance of preventing damage by natural disasters.

North Hamgyong Province makes every effort to expand the capacities of water drainage facilities and ensure the security of the embankments by reinforcing all sections vulnerable to flood damage.

It has also made full preparations for concentrating manpower and means on minimizing damage in an emergency situation, while conducting real-time observation of precipitation and water level.

Kangwon Province has taken strong measures to protect generating equipment and hydraulic structures.

The hydro-power stations in the province recheck the conditions of floodgates and eliminate defects. In particular, they pay attention to protecting the generators and equipment of outdoor substations.

South Phyongan Province accelerates the reinforcement of tide-water control dykes while taking measures to promptly cope with any emergency situation as most of farmland is located near the shoreline.

(SourceRodong Sinmun, July 13, 2022.)


North Korea’s 2020 floods in perspective

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

By: Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

By all accounts, North Korea has been badly hit, with severe damage all over the country, from the typhoons sweeping the region over the past few weeks. Though Kim Jong-un reportedly concluded that the damage to crops was not as bad as feared – fantastic news if true. The situation is still developing, however, and today (Thursday September 3rd), typhoon Maysak was expected to hit the northeastern coast of the country around noon.

In other words, it is much to soon to draw any firm conclusions about the overall damage. Still, it is worth noting that at least so far, it appears to be smaller than only a few years ago. One person I spoke to, with direct experience of disaster relief management in North  Korea, partially attributed this to early warnings. North Korean TV has been reporting live about the floods, and Kim Jong-un convened emergency meetings to prepare for the oncoming floods. The extent of information from the government seems much wider now than in some past years.

Take, for example, the impact in the northeastern regions and Rason in particular. Countless buildings were razed to the ground and KCNA reported that 40 people died in Rason alone, though one Daily NK source dismissed that as unrealistically low. This year’s flooding seems to be much worse quantitatively speaking, and yet, so far, news media reported “only” 22 deaths. Each is of course tragic, but it is interesting that the death toll, at least so far (and I cannot caution this enough) seems to be lower even with the force of the typhoons being stronger. For reference, in Rason in 2015, rain levels reached 160mm, while now, Wonsan city has been submerged with 200mm.