North Korea Today No.182-News Alert

Research Institute for North Korean Society

No.182 New Alert August 2008

Flood Special – special updates on the flood affected areas
Full stories in the North Korea Today No.182 will be published shortly, per normal.
Extensive Damage in Kaesong Due to Heavy Rainfall Recovery Efforts Focusing on Fields Where Grains Can be Recovered Vegetable Crop in Gumchun County Ruined by the Heavy Rainfall Price of Rice Increasing in South Hwanghae Province

Extensive Damage in Kaesong Due to Heavy Rainfall
On July 24th, regions throughout North and South Hwanghae Province, such as Gaesong, Haeju in South Hwanghae Province, and Sariwon in North Hwanghae Province suffered extensive damage due to heavy rainfall. The heavy rainfall lasted for a few hours, and caused damage to farmland and maizefields, while also flooding highways and railways. Villages also suffered severe damage. It was revealed that roughly 1,800 units of farmland were flooded due to the heavy rainfall. Within Gaesong, traffic was paralyzed by the mud and debris that accumulated on the roadways and railways because of the downpours. In addition, Gaepung County, which lies at the entrance to Gaesong, suffered extensive damage with two bridges at Ryohyun-li district in Gaepung county and the Gaepung station being destroyed. There were also many areas where residential homes were either partially or fully destroyed. Some of the homes that were submerged underwater suffered enough damage that they may have to be condemned in the future. The heavy downpours occurred so suddenly that cargo trucks and automobiles floated down the roadways, causing accidents. On some farms in Gaesung, livestock and cows floated away or died.

On the day of the downpour, broadcast vehicles were mobilized and they issued announcements telling people to take shelter. Soldiers from the No.2 Corp, who were stationed in Gaesung, tried to rebuild embankments to control the water, but the flow of the water was too hard to control and 5 soldiers were reported to have died. The downpour was so strong that commanding officers immediately dispatched soldiers to apartment complexes to begin pumping out water and take shelter.

Recovery Efforts Focusing on Fields Where Grains Can be Recovered
The regions most affected by the recent downpour have been revealed as Gaesung and its outlying farmlands. Central Party officials have gone down to the damaged areas to supervise recovery efforts. Because the food situation is pressing, central party officials are ordering Chair of the Farm Management committee and District Secretaries of the Party to "focus recovery efforts on the areas of the flooded fields where grains can still be salvaged and use water pumps to drain the affected areas." Soldiers, who are also contributing to the recovery efforts, went so far as to carry the water pumps to the affected regions and manually pump out the water. Higher ranking officials tried to spur recovery efforts by carrying water pumps and saying "if we want to save even one more grain of rice, we need to hurry."

Vegetable Crop in Gumchun County Ruined by the Heavy Rainfall
Amidst the constant reports of damage that are surfacing in the wake of the heavy downpours, news is emerging that the vegetable crop of North Hwanghae Province suffered serious damage. The full allotment of fertilizer was not distributed this year due to a shortage of fertilizer, and this, coupled with the heavy rainfall that began in July, contributed to the ruin of the vegetable crop. The crop was doing reasonably well until the rainfall started, but the heavy rainfall eventually flooded the fields and ruined the crop, much to the dismay of the farmers who took pains to raise the vegetables. The price of vegetables and seedlings in Gumchun Market has since doubled or tripled.

Price of Rice Increasing in South Hwanghae Province
The price of rice in South Hwanghae Province, which used to be 2,300won on July 23rd, rose following the heavy downpours and currently, as of July 31st, is being traded at 2,800won. The price of maize rose 300won and is currently being traded at 1,600 won per kilogram. The price of commodities such as flour, tofu, and beans has not risen, but if the price of rice rises any further, it is expected that these prices will also increase.
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