North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

DPRK Claims Typhoon Damage

DPRK media has reported that the Typhoon Meari caused significant damage to food production and industrial sites, and destroyed 160 homes last month.  Yonhap reports:

A powerful typhoon has caused casualties in North Korea and inflicted serious damage on farmland and other industrial facilities, the North’s state media said Tuesday, damage that could further worsen the country’s chronic food shortages.

Typhoon Meari brought downpours and gusts to North Korea last month, destroying about 160 houses and submerging or washing away about 21,000 hectares of farmland, the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The heavy rain has also either destroyed or submerged industrial facilities, public buildings, roads and levees, the KCNA said, without elaborating on casualties.

It said North Korea is rebuilding houses, public buildings, roads and bridges.

The development could further strain the North’s economy at a time when the North is grappling with food shortages.

North Korea has been hit hard by floods in recent years, mainly because of its lack of investment in disaster control and severe deforestation.

Last year, a massive flood swept through the North Korean city of Sinuiju on the border with China, inundating thousands of houses and a vast tract of farmland while killing 14 people, according to North Korea’s media and international relief agencies.

In 2007, North Korea was hit by the heaviest rainfall in 40 years, leaving some 600 people dead or missing and about 100,000 people homeless.

After last month’s storm, 3 box mines were discovered to have washed into ROK.  JoongAng Ilbo reported:

The South Korean military said yesterday that they found three North Korean land mines, which apparently were dislodged during the recent torrential rain. One mine was found on Gyodong Island, one on Bolum Island in Incheon, and the other in Suip Creek in Yanggu District in Gangwon. The mines were in the shape of wooden boxes.

The military warned that additional land mines might be in rivers and streams linked to North Korea. A military spokesman said that they will continue to search in areas where land mines could be found.

The military will put up warning posters and messages to inform the public about land mines in Paju and Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi, and border areas in Gangwon.

Last August, 11 North Korean mines, which were carried away during torrential rains, were found near the Imjin River. One civilian was killed and another person was injured in that case. After the accident, the military found 193 additional land mines. At the time, Kaesong, a North Korean city bordering Gyeonggi, had experienced unusually heavy rain.

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July 2011