Deadly Floods Hit North Korea, Eastern China and the Russian Far East

Torrential rain in the wake of Typhoon Lionrock caused severe flooding in North Korea, where at least 10 people have died. Severe flooding was also reported in parts of eastern China and the Russian Far East, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

Typhoon Lionrock caused the deaths of at least 11 people in Japan on 30 August.

North Korea

The Red Cross reports that more than 300mm of rainfall was reported between 29 and 31 August, causing flooding of the Tumen River and its branches in this region around the Chinese-North Korea border.

North Hamgyong Province with affected cities and counties including: Hoeryong City, Musan County, Yonsa County, Chongjin City, Kimchaek City, Ŏrang County, Kyongsong County, Kilju County, and Rason City area.

Reports indicate that Hoeryong City is greatly affected with over 2,000 houses inundated or submerged and over 1,000 houses completely destroyed.

The Red Cross reported ten deaths, with a further 15 people still missing. Unconfirmed reports indicated that 17,182 households have been affected by the floods. It is estimated that more than 9,088 houses have been damaged, and over 8,094 houses destroyed. Up to 44,009 people are reported to be displaced.

The Red Cross say that Provincial Disaster Response Teams from North Hamgyong Province have been deployed with Search and Rescue and First Aid teams mobilized. In total more than 1,000 volunteers have been mobilized for the reliefand evacuation activities. The DPRK Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) has released 2,500 household kits (tarpaulins, jerry-cans, water-purification tablets, blankets, etc.) pre-positioned at Hamhung City disasterwarehouse.

Deadly floods hit the country in August last year. Torrential rain between 22 to 24 August 2015 caused flash floods in areas around Rason City where at least 40 people died. Earlier in August 2015 at least 21 people died after flooding in the provinces of South Hwanghae, South Hamgyong and North Hamgyon.

July 2015 floods in North Korea. Photo: Red Cross North Korea
July 2015 floods in North Korea. Photo: Red Cross North Korea

Floods and other natural disasters place enormous strain on food production and can cause major food insecurity in North Korea, a country that pursues a rigid isolationist policy of economic self-reliance, a self reliance which extends to its people who must produce their own food if they are to eat.

According to the North Korean state news agency KCNA, the heavy rain was brought about by a combination of typhoon-10 (Typhoon Lionrock) and an area of low pressure that had formed in the northwest of the country.

KCNA say that, according to data available at the State Hydro-meteorological Administration, the rainfall reached 320 mm and 290 mm in Kyonghung and Puryong counties of North Hamgyong Province from 00:00 Monday to 12:00 Friday.


Typhoon Lionrock was also the cause of flooding that struck parts of eastern China from 29 August, according to China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA).

Heavy rain affected several eastern provinces, in particular Jilin but also Heilongjiang, central and northern Liaoning and eastern Inner Mongolia.

Officials from MCA say that just under 1 million people were affected in total, with around 44,000 forced to evacuate areas in Jilin where over 1,100 homes were damaged or destroyed. Around 200 homes were also damaged or destroyed in Heilongjiang province.

No deaths or injuries were reported. However MCA report that at least 8,500 people needed emergency relief. Wide areas of crops and farmland also suffered damage.


The governor of Maritime Territory (Primorsky Krai) declared state of emergency in the region after torrential rain and flooding from 29 August 2016. Russia’s Emergency Ministry, EMERCOM, says that the equivalent of around 3 months of rain fell in the days between 29 and 31 August.

Flooding has affected 11 local districts including Anuchino, Kavalerovo, Lazo, Mikhaylovsky, Terneysky, Khasansky and Chuguyevka. Power outages were reported in over 50 towns or villages. Over 30km of roads were damaged by the storm and floods, isolating 14 communities in 6 districts.

At least 700 people were evacuated. EMERCOM say that aid has been provided to the people, with food, bottled water, material resources, medicines and other essential items distributed.

Flood Summary

Last updated: September 12, 2016
Typhoon Lionrock, Japan, China, North Korea and Russian Far East, August 2016
August 29 to September 12, 2016
Inland flood, Landslide, River flood
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.


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


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


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
Jilin Province, China - August 29 to September 2, 2016
133 people
North Hamgyong Province, North Korea - August 29 to September 12, 2016
North Hamgyong Province, North Korea - August 29 to September 12, 2016