North Korea Floods 2012

Water Level at Roof Height During the 2012 North Korean Floods

The floods which hit North Korea in the summer of 2012 were so devastating that the country is still suffering today. The ongoing problem has affected a lot of the country, and was caused by a natural disaster of epic proportions, killing eighty-eight people and leaving sixty two thousand people without homes. The disaster started with a huge storm, which led on to unrelenting rainfall, making situations worse. The government were forced to plead for aid from sources worldwide. The devastation was so widespread, that some damage reached the southern areas of the country.

The North Korean floods were started by Khanun, the tropical storm which hit the region in July 2012. On the 19th July, it landed in South Korea, travelled over North Korea (where it lost some of its momentum), and then dissolved in China. This initial storm caused a lot of the devastation, and the government announced that eighty-eight people had been killed, and a further one hundred and thirty four were injured. Most of the fatalities occurred in the provinces of South Pyongan. Over sixty thousand people were without homes because of mass flooding, and local buildings were destroyed, including factories. Thirty thousand hectares of farmland was also completely underwater. There are still concerns that this lack of food will lead to another famine in future years.

Flooded streets in North Korea 2012
Flooded streets in North Korea 2012

After the tropical storm had passed, North Korea was bombarded with torrential rainfall. The two days showing the worst levels of rainfall were the 29th and the 30th of July, when over seventeen inches of rain fell in twenty four hours. This was recorded in the Pakchon County. So on top of the floods from Khanun, the extra rain destroyed even more, including bridges, streets, houses, and railway lines. The government still have not released definite figures on how much damage has been done, and how many definite casualties there have been.

As soon as the extent of the flooding was realised, the government in North Korea requested help from the Red Cross and the United Nations. On the 31st July, there was a mission to the Kangwon province and the South Pyongan province to provide aid and help to the locals.

By the first of August, the damage had been assessed. Several counties in North Korea had been completely wrecked by flash floods, thunderbolts, and landslides. The damage was estimated to have affected thousands, completely destroying almost five thousand houses, with another eight thousand being completely underwater. The coal mining in the areas was also severely affected, as almost one hundred and eighty thousand tonnes of coal had been taken away by the waters. Thirty one people were casualties of lightening and landslides, and a number of people were still missing.

However, the worst was yet to come. At the end of August, more rains fell, which ended up killing six more people and wiping out five hundred and thirty more houses. Another typhoon, Bolaven, hit, followed by yet another in late September, leaving more dead and more damage.

Sources: Wikipedia, BBC, The Guardian, CNN

2 thoughts on “North Korea Floods 2012

  1. These poor people just get hammered with floods, drought and famine. Perhaps their government would be better off dedicating efforts to these issues and not nuclear missiles?

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