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GIEWS Update-detail
FAO/GIEWS Global Watch

5 August 2008

Heavy rains in DPR Korea



Heavy rains have reportedly battered many parts of DPR Korea between August 1st and 3rd, including Kangwon province, which received 12.7 inches of rain. This came a week after similarly strong and generalized rains. The country suffered significant flooding last year, and the situation is of concern for three main reasons:

1) There appear to be alarming trends in the amount and concentration of summer rains. Since 2005 rains have become both heavier and more concentrated over the July-August period. Rainfall in these two months used to amount to 60% of annual precipitation; it was about 90% in the summer of 2007;

2) There has been a gradual build-up of sediment, gravel and other material, decreasing the depth of river and stream beds. Since so much of area cultivated is in floodplains, sometimes even in the actual upper river beds, the likelihood of flooding is very high;

3) Recovery and rehabilitation from the August 2007 floods remain incomplete. Considerable labor has gone into rebuilding embankments, small dams, and even into dredging of major watercourses, but much is still damaged, and vulnerable to repeated pressure from cresting water levels.