Huge Tidal Wave Slammed North Pyongan Beach

Daily NK
Han Young Jin

On March 7th a tidal wave hit Soehan Bay on the West Sea, which is bounded by Cholsan, Yongcheon and Sunchon in North Pyongan, leaving 2 thousand flood casualties and around 1 hundred dead. Many were gathering sea shells, according to several sources in North Korea who said the news was released late on instructions to cover up the damage.

Flooded regions include Dosan-ri and Bosan-ri in Yongchoen, Okok-ri in Cholsan, Shinmee Island in Sunchon, with the worst suffering in Dosan-ri in Yongchoen. The damage done by the giant wave came in a flash and was worsened by the lack of weather forecasting and early warning systems.

North Korean authority has not informed the outside world of the tidal wave. However, the South Korean government reportedly has been apprised.

Receiving information from a people’s unit chairperson, a source in Yongcheon said that “people in Dosan-ri and Bosan-ri in Yongcheon make living by collecting sea shells, and around 70 households were affected.” Another source said that the dead included fishermen fishing in the coastal sea of Cholsan, women, and students collecting seashells.

Collecting seashells in North Korea is done by boarding a boat on a coastal sea as the tide rises. When it ebbs, people get off the boat and collect seashells on the foreshore. As the tide rises again, they need to get back on the boat. This practice caused the death toll to rise. The dead included young students who began school in March, who were helping their parents in other cities make a living.

After the incident, the local social safety agency began an investigation and delivered the order not to speak about it. Information would flow through the chairpersons of people’s units. North Korean authority usually broadcasts such news over its central broadcasting network, organizing rescue units from the whole country.

The chairpersons of the people’s units investigated the missing persons and compensated the families of victims with Chinese color television sets, according to the source. A source in Dandung, China said the incident was not reported there as no bodies or boat debris had been found.


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