North Korea Floods – 40 Dead in Rason

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Torrential rain over the period between 22 to 24 August 2015 caused deadly flash floods in Rason City, North Korea.

According to the International Federation of the Red Cross, the flooding has left at least 40 people dead and affected around 11,000 in Rason City, which is situated in the Rason Special Economic Zone in North Hamgyong Province, on the country’s border with Russia and China. Over 150 houses have been destroyed and around 850 damaged in the floods there.

DPRK Red Cross has deployed 80 volunteers to the affected area, including four Provincial Disaster Response team members, who have assisted in evacuation efforts and distributed essential non-food relief items to the affected population.

The DPRK Red Cross, in coordination with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has also dispatched non-food items from its warehouses in South Hamgyong and Pyongyang. These items include tarpaulins, family tents, cooking sets, water containers, shelter tool kits, quilts, hygiene kits and water purification tablets.

Rainfall and Tropical Cyclone Goni

Reuter’s report that North Korean state media said 250 mm of rain fell over the weekend, with about 155mm falling in just three hours on Saturday, 22 August 2015.

According to WMO figures for 24 hour period between 25 and 26 August, Sinpo, Hamgyong province, saw 218 mm of rain, Samjiyon in Ryanggang province saw 112 mm, and Changjon in Kangwon Province saw 315 mm.

The heavy rain is thought to have been brought in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Goni, which crossed Kyushu island in Japan on 25 August 2015, leaving 70 injured and forcing 200,000 households to evacuate in southern Japan. Earlier Goni struck the Philippines, killing four people.

Goni has since moved over the Sea of Japan towards Vladivostok, Russia, significantly weakening. However, heavy rains and winds are still affecting parts of southern Japan, Republic of Korea and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“More rain is forecast in DPRK and many disaster prone areas in other provinces are likely to be affected.” said Khaled Masud Ahmed, Disaster Management Delegate with the IFRC in DPRK. “The DPRK Red Cross Society and the IFRC are discussing its readiness in dealing with potential floods associated with seasonal rains’’.

Over 60 Killed in August 2015 Floods

The latest floods bring the death toll in North Korea to at least 61 people for this month. Earlier in August, 21 people died and several were missing after floods struck in South Hwanghae, particularly Byoksong county, South Hamgyong and North Hamgyon.

2015 floods in North Korea. Photo: Red Cross North korea
File Photo: Flood damage in North Korea. Photo: DPRK Red Cross Society