Wednesday, August 15, 2007

At least 200 dead, missing in North Korean floods

A lamp stands on the flooded bank of the Taedong-gang River in Pyongyang Tuesday.
By most accounts, at least 200 people are dead or missing since downpours started August 7th.
Here's what the flooding has done, according to the country's official news agency:
  • damaged or destroyed more than 30,000 homes for more than 63,000 families.
  • ruined tens of thousands of acres of farmland
  • destroyed at least 800 public buildings
  • destroyed more than 540 bridges and sections of railways

Experts say the North Koreans may have made this flooding worse for themselves because of decades of deforestation. Apparently, the energy-starved residents have used every scrap of wood from the countryside to cook food or heat homes through the bitter winters, leaving large areas of the country vulnerable to flooding and landslides.

And if you remember, serious flooding helped trigger a famine in the mid 1990s. It's guessed that nearly two million North Koreans died from starvation. A decade later the country is still unable to feed all of its 23 million people and depends heavily on outside food aid.

At this time, the inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is still a-go for August 28 to 30th in Pyongyang.

1 comment:

Complaint Department Manager said...

I feel for those people. My fiance hails from the Philippines and they've been hammered by no less than 5 times with this type of weather. It's sad to see how many have lost their homes and so much more with a government that can't do much of anything. I keep both countries in my thoughts.