CIA Assesses Flooding in DPRK

Floods in Wonsan, DPRK

Residents look over floodwaters in Wonsan, DPRK. File photo: AP

Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News, a publication of the Federation of American Scientists, shared a CIA study on major floods due to rainfall in North Korea since 1996. The study was undertaken in order to devise a framework for evaluating the significance of floods and their likely consequences for North Korean agriculture. From the article:

The analysts identified four principal variables:  the intensity of the rainfall, the location of the rainfall, the time of year, and damage to non-agricultural infrastructure.

“Rainfall intensity and geography of flooding appear to be key variables with the most impact,” their report (pdf) said. “Critical periods in the agricultural growth cycle — for sowing, growing, and harvesting — and the scope and severity of infrastructure damage are compounding variables that can magnify the impact of major floods in key food producing areas.”

All four elements were present in 1996 and 2007, when flooding produced the most severe agricultural impact.  But using the methodology described, analysts judge that the cumulative impact of two instances of heavy rain in 2010 “has been relatively low.”

You can read a the CIA report obtained by Secrecy News here.

[Steven Aftergood writes for Secrecy News, a publication of the Federation of American Scientists which reports on new developments in government secrecy and provides public access to documentary resources on secrecy, intelligence and national security policy.]

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