Wednesday, 30 September 2015

North Korea: Rason flood casualties ten times official figures

Nearly 400 people have reportedly died from torrential rain that swept up residents in Rason, North Hamgyong Province. This is ten times the figure officially announced by North Korea, which is believed to have distorted numbers in fear that the international community would criticize the Kim Jong Un leadership for its lack of readiness against natural disasters, Daily NK sources reported.

“Damage from the downpours was contained to Rason in the Sonbong area and not elsewhere,” a source privy to North Korean affairs in China told Daily NK. “It was only in the Sonbong area where it rained a lot. Although the state reported 40 were killed, after looking into the matter those figures are over 400.”

An additional source in China with ties to North Korea confirmed this news.

Images featured in the Party-run Rodong Sinmun showed buildings being reconstructed, but on the larger scale, the damage was immense with entire villages being swept away, leading to a massive loss of lives, according to the source.

“The sudden rise in water levels swept up not only residents in the area but taxi drivers, traders, and even truck drivers from China. Those bodies have not even been recovered yet,” he asserted.

“Saying that 40 lives were lost is sheer nonsense.”

Soldiers mobilized from surrounding areas are currently working on rebuilding the hard hit city, which has been sealed off from the public. Roughly 45,000 soldiers are on site, reflecting the magnitude of devastation in Rason.

“The soldiers that have been mobilized are storm troops that specialize in building roads, bridges, and fixing houses,” the source said. “They have cut off the entrance to Sonbong to block cars coming from Wonjong Customs House, and people cannot enter at all. All vehicles that go through customs have to make a detour toward the Tumen River,” the source explained.

He went on to speculate that Pyongyang downplayed the numbers in an effort to deflect any criticism from the global community. While it is more common to see dozens of lives lost in a natural disaster, much higher numbers would be a sure sign of North Korea’s lack of readiness. The leadership, the source surmised, likely did not want to take any chances in acknowledging this reality.

Wednesday 30 September 2015


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