North Korea – Floods Leave 133 Dead and 107,000 Displaced

The death toll from severe flooding in a North Korean border region has risen to 133 with another 395 missing and tens of thousands left homeless, the UN said in a report released 11 September. The number of fatalities has risen sharply from the 60 deaths reported on 07 September.

The report says that at least 140,000 people are in urgent need of assistance.

The flooding was triggered by heavy rains as a result of Typhoon Lionrock from from 29 August onwards, affecting the country’s north-eastern North Hamgyong Province.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing figures it has received from the North Korean government, said that around 107,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in areas along the overflowing Tumen River. That figure has increased from 40,000 since 07 September.

Musan County is the worst hit area, where 76,000 people have been displaced. Around 17,000 have been displaced in Yŏnsa County, 8,000 in Hoeryŏng City and 2,400 in Onsŏng County. The worst affected areas in Musan and Yŏnsa counties remain inaccessible.

The UN says that counties in Ryanggang Province that border Yŏnsa County may also be affected but currently there is limited information available from these areas.

The report says that more than 35,500 houses have been damaged, 69 per cent of which have been completed destroyed, and a further 8,700 buildings, including schools and public buildings, have been damaged. Around 16,000 hectares of arable land has been inundated.

An estimated 600,000 people in more than six counties have also been affected by the interruption of water supply systems.

The report added that 16,000 hectares of farmland have been inundated.

Humanitarian agencies have released relief materials from in-country stockpiles including food, nutritional supplements, shelter and kitchen kits, water purification and sanitation supplies, emergency health supplies and education supplies.

The Government is urgently working to reopen the roads to improve access to affected areas, and is distributing relief goods and building materials. They are also prioritising the rebuilding of 20,000 houses by early October, in advance of winter, with support from the humanitarian community.

The country suffered severe flooding in 2012. In the mountainous region of South Hamgyong province numerous villages were affected by flash floods in July 2012 which destroyed hundreds of homes. Photo Credit: Devrig Velly EU/ECHO November 2012
The country suffered severe flooding in 2012.
In the mountainous region of South Hamgyong province numerous villages were affected by flash floods in July 2012 which destroyed hundreds of homes. Photo Credit: Devrig Velly EU/ECHO November 2012

Flood summary

Last updated: September 12, 2016
Event
Typhoon Lionrock, Japan, China, North Korea and Russian Far East, August 2016
Date
August 29 to September 12, 2016
Type
Inland flood, Landslide, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
Typhoon Lionrock made landfall on 30 August near the city of Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. The storm caused heavy rain causing deadly floods and landslides.Authorities in North Korea reported severe flooding in North Hamgyong Province from 29 August.In China, Lionrock caused flooding in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, central and northern Liaoning and eastern Inner Mongolia from 29 August, affecting 950,000 people. Flooding was also reported in Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East.

Locations

A - Iwate Prefecture (Japan)
B - Hokkaido Prefecture
C - Jilin (China)
D - North Hamgyong, North Korea (North Korea)
E - Primorsky Krai, Russia (Russian Federation)

Magnitude

Rainfall level
106 mm in 24 hours
Kuji, Japan - August 29 to August 30, 2016
Rainfall level
158.5 mm in 24 hours
Yamagata, Japan - August 29 to August 30, 2016

Damages

Fatalities
11 people
Iwaizumi and Kuji, Japan - August 30 to August 31, 2016
9 of the fatalities were elderly residents at a nursing home in the town of Iwaizumi, Iwate prefecture
Evacuated
46,000
Jilin Province, China - August 29 to September 2, 2016
Fatalities
133 people
North Hamgyong Province, North Korea - August 29 to September 12, 2016
Evacuated
107,000
North Hamgyong Province, North Korea - August 29 to September 12, 2016