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Deforestation Worsening North Korea Floods

clock03-29-2010, 12:37 AM
Yorum: #1
Reeckless deforestation blamed for flood damage in NKorea

SEOUL, Aug 2, 2006 (AFP) - Decades of reckless deforestation have stripped North Korea of tree cover that provides natural protection from catastrophic flooding, experts say.

Energy-starved residents have used every scrap of wood from the countryside to cook food or heat homes through the bitter winters.

This leaves the country vulnerable to flooding and landslides on a massive scale, they say.

Government officials have made the problem worse by encouraging residents to expand farmland into the hillsides in a bid to boost food production, said Kwon Tae-Jin, of Seoul's state-funded Korea Rural Economic Institute.

"North Korea began stripping hillsides for farming from the 1970s in an effort to boost food production. North Korea's policy, however, has aggravated its food shortage as it is now very vulnerable to heavy rains," Kwon said.

"Along with the lack of facilities to control floods like reservoirs, chronic energy shortages have also played a role."

Those factors all contributed to flooding triggered by a July 10 typhoon that left up to 10,000 North Koreans dead or missing, according to an independent aid group Good Friends.

Most analysts here say the scale of the disaster stems from the communist government's misguided policies.

"The erosion of earth and sand is getting more serious by the year in North Korea because of a wrong-headed government policy, leading to heavier damage," said Kwon.

North Korean residents are still chopping down trees recklessly for fuel, according to officials at South Korean's unification ministry which handles relations with the North.

The official analyzing North Korea's economy at the ministry said the problem would not go away in the near future.

"Despite campaigns to plant trees, there has been no real progress in resolving the deforestation problem because they still suffer a chronic lack of fuel and food," he said.

Pyongyang has yet to disclose a final casualty report, with its official media so far reporting hundreds of people dead or missing in the floods.

Other countries hit by similar heavy downpours in the region had relatively fewer casualties, notably neighboring South Korea. It was also hit by the same typhoon and heavy moonsoon rains but suffered only 19 flood-related deaths.
clock07-07-2012, 05:55 PM
Yorum: #2
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