"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

North Korea - first famines, now floods and some remarkable pictures

Massive storms have been sweeping North Korea in the last few days and the official Korean Central News Agency says the consequent flooding has left "hundreds" dead or missing , and destroyed more than 30,000 homes.

"The heavy rain destroyed at least 800 public buildings, over 540 bridges, 70 sections of railroads and at least 1,100 vehicles, pumps and electric motors," KCNA said.

Farmland has also been damaged in the Pattangong delta where the capital Pyongyang is located (see pic of main street outside Koryo hotel which is near the railway station)

This is the second year of such widespread flooding which is said to have been aided by the denuding of hillsides to develop new land areas - only 26% of the land mass is cultivable in this mountainous and desperately poor country.

More than 2 million people were said to have died after the famines of the mid 1990's , blamed by the DPRK government on natural disasters but was also related to antique farming methods and machinery , as well as the loss of the country's Soviet benefactor and customer. North Korea still relies on outside food aid to help feed most of its population.

It was also precipitated quite deliberately as the West denied them agricultural chemicals - insecticides, fungicides, fertilisers as they ramped up export and banking controls . Whilst the US persisted in telling lies that the DPRK, to whom a washing machine would present a challenge to repair were supposed to be making atiomic weapons.

The BBC report that food aid from neighbouring South Korea is currently suspended after talks between the two sides collapsed last week in the wake of Pyongyang's 5 July missile tests.

South Korea has also been hit by the seasonal storms, with around 60 people dead or missing after days of rain.

Let us hope that the new detente will see the end of the old criminal gang running the place and substantial international effort to develop their native agriculture instead of merely sending them our food surpluses. Go here for latest news.

If living in London you can visit what sounds like a fascinating exhibition of North Korean artsists assembled by David Heather - Artists, Arts and Culture of North Korea runs at La Galleria, 5b Pall Mall, London SW1Y 4UY, until September 2. More here and Time Out review here


Wolfie said...

Unfortunately countries such as Korea are very vulnerable to the earliest effects of climate change, I do not refute the other factors you have cited but climate change is central I believe.

Industrial Chinese pollution and land abuse of neighbouring countries play a major factor and sadly I think we will be seeing a lot more of this sort of thing to come.

Shutter said...

The climate,as ever is changing at the glacial speed of geological time, with odd seasonal and local bumps of heating, cooling, precipitation.

Flying over DPRK (listening to Hong Kong pop music) it is evident that the steep mountains ranges fringed by vast littoral deltas ) of which the Pattangong is only one, you realise how as the plane descends (and the music changes to DPRK funereal military music) flooding must be a regular problem - as say the Severn Estuary, Rhone Delta.

High water run off aided by erosion as the trees are stripped from the mountains as fuel, is yet another more recent factor.

Commentator said...


Thank you for the overview of the floods. Will you please consider addding the photo above to NoComment News at http://NoCommentNews.com ?

The idea of NoComment News is to show in pictures what's happening around the world now. Your photo is great for it.

Thank you!

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish