Hard Rain Journal 8-2-06: North Korean flood toll thought to be 10,000, Agence France Press reports
By Richard Power
Here are two items, one from today, one from four years ago.
The one from four years ago warns about the kind of events that the one from today documents.
Up to 10,000 North Koreans are believed dead or missing in what Pyongyang's official media is describing as the worst flooding in a century, a respected South Korean humanitarian group says. "About 4,000 people are now listed as missing, and we expect the final toll of dead and missing to reach 10,000," the independent aid group Good Friends said....Seoul-based Good Friends says the media is now terming the flooding the worst to hit the impoverished country in a century and that a massive relief operation is now under way. In a statement, the group says despite the urgency of the disaster, North Korean soldiers have been ordered to stay in their barracks and not to help with relief operations because of tension with the outside world over North Korea's recent missile tests.
North Korea's bare hillsides, which have been stripped of tree cover by impoverished residents looking for fuel, are particularly vulnerable to flooding and landslides caused by erosion. Two weeks of heavy rainfall sent rainwater sweeping unimpeded down deforested hillsides, sending rivers of mud through farms and villages. The aid group says the worst-hit areas include Sinyang and other counties along the upstream of the Taedong river which runs through the centre of Pyongyang. It says malaria is now spreading in southern regions.
North Korean flood toll thought to be 10,000, Agence France Press, 8-2-06
Two separate teams of scientists are predicting more extreme rainfall and greater flooding in this century.
According to their projections, it will be particularly striking at northern latitudes—across Canada, Alaska, northern Europe, and northern Asia, regions that already receive the most precipitation. But the equatorial tropics and Southeast Asia are also likely to have increased rainfall and flooding.
Both teams, one from the United States and the other from Europe, attribute the expected pattern to global warming accelerated by human activities.
Although people may adapt to gradual climate change, the effects of extreme rain and flooding are often broad, devastating, and costly to society. Landslides, avalanches, and flooding damage infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and buildings, and hurt agricultural productivity because of lost crops and soil erosion. Disaster relief often requires enormous funding, and the loss of human life may also be high.
Hillary Mayell, Climate Studies Point to More Floods in This Century, National Geographic News, 1-3-02
The US political establishment is not providing leadership. The US news media is not providing leadership.
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Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Global Warming, Energy Security, Environmental Security, Alternate Energy, Sustainability, Renewable Resources, Climate Change, Weather, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, Extreme Weather, Europe, North Korea, Floods