Residents ignore evacuation orders to guard homes from looting soldiers

first_imgFlood damage in Namyang, Onsong County, North Hamgyong Province, as captured by a Daily NK correspondent on August 31. NewsEconomy By Choi Song Min – 2016.09.09 11:34am Facebook Twitter AvatarChoi Song Min SHARE RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News Chongjin City and Kyongsong County were among the areas that saw heavy rains, which began on August 26. Moreover, Hoeryong City, and the counties of Onsong and Musan–all contiguous with the Tumen River–were hit with over 100 mm of rain per hour, causing the riverbanks to give way and submerge nearby villages. The severity of the flooding coupled with the percentage of households disregarding the evacuation ordinance is expected to lead to greater loss of life. “Korean Central News Agency reported some 80 people were either dead or missing,” the source said, “but that figure is not to be trusted. [The authorities] often manipulate those numbers downward.” He added, “Soldiers stationed in bases in the [affected] areas are deployed for rescue missions. But instead, they are searching for vacant homes to pilfer whatever they can. They evacuate people in their immediate vicinity to the mountains and then leisurely follow up by going through these victims’ personal property.  What kind of ‘People’s Army’ is that?”Furthermore, the flooding has highlighted North Korea’s acute dearth of basic equipment and infrastructure to combat emergency scenarios of all manner. Border towns along Tumen River lack not only an emergency rescue apparatus but even the most rudimentary of tools and supplies for disaster preparedness, prompting locals to request assistance from the Chinese authorities in Tumen, Jilin Province.Those in the higher echelons of society seek assistance from across the river, too. “Local cadres in this area arrange for emergency medicine to be sent through Chinese customs for their sick relatives, relying more on Chinese authorities than their own,” the source explained. “Residents talk about how North Koreans were rescued by Chinese soldiers, and that if not for them three people stranded on Ttukseom [an island on the Tumen River] would have been swept away by the swollen waterway.”Unsurprisingly, the dire circumstances have fanned criticism about the Korean People’s Army [KPA] among some residents, who comment that perhaps they would “be better off if [KPA] soldiers were excluded from emergency operations altogether.”center_img News US dollar and Chinese reminbi plummet against North Korean won once again There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest News North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only) Residents ignore evacuation orders to guard homes from looting soldiers Despite evacuation orders from the authorities amid the recent torrential rains that battered North Korea’s northeastern region and led to severe flooding, many residents stayed behind to guard their property, concerned that soldiers mobilized for recovery work would steal from their homes. “Late last month, large swaths of the province were flooded due to the three-day downpours we had,” a source from North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on September 7. “The local Party and administrative bodies issued emergency evacuation orders, but a lot of people were stranded because they hesitated about vacating their property and rendering it susceptible to [pillaging] soldiers.”Multiple sources in North Hamgyong Province corroborated this news.Last year, when devastating floods swept through the Rason region of North Hamgyong Province, soldiers looted civilian property, carrying off televisions and DVD players. Therefore, despite the perils wrought by the natural disaster, this year, more residents stayed behind to guard their property in a bid to hedge against repeat occurrences.last_img