Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Korea: was the water weapon used?

This weekend, 6 South Koreans were killed by a flash flood. However, unlike usual flash floods (like this tragic flood in Istanbul), this one was not caused by heavy rains. Instead, it appears that the North Korean government opened the gates of its Hwanggang dam, which was just completed in 2007. Because it is only 5 km away from the DMZ, there is a good chance that this dam was built solely for the reason of threatening South Korea with just such an event.

Apparently, North Korea explained the event as a necessary discharge because of high water levels. Unification Minister Hyun In-taek sayis that this was not credible because rainfall the week before in that region was below 0.2 mm. He said that rainfall was not enough to motivate the North to release the water.The South has demanded that the North apologize. f

Korea is not usually an area that is mentioned when talking about the security effects of climate change. However, this event shows how water can be used as a weapon. If climate change causes either extreme drought or extreme rains (both likely events, but in different areas), it is not improbable to believe that water could be used as a real weapon.

(thanks to FP's Passport for the story)

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