Thursday, June 30, 2011

mine found in Gangwon- not a coal mine, either

UPDATED: I'm updating this on Aug 1, 2011, after a week of nightmarish rain and deadly floods in Seoul and Gangwondo.  Mudslides occurred in various mine fields and there are now mines that are not accounted for.  We don't know where they are.  Friends of mine wonder how the mines could have been tumbled in a multi-ton mess of mud and not have gone off.  I do too, but they were first to bring it up.  I suppose these are old and unstable mines.  Hit them with a hammer enough and something might happen on the twentieth try even if it didn't the previous 19 times.

From Marmot's Hole, The Herald and the Joongang.

Joongang: The areas where the search is focused on include air-defense entrenchments in Mount Umyeon, Gyeonggi and Gangwon, as well as some areas in Yangju, Gyeonggi. The border areas where North Korea’s wooden land mines are often discovered at a time of flooding were also included. 
Note that Umyeon is in Seoul, just south of the Han.  I lived near Sadang Station and learned the danso at the Korean Traditional Performing Arts Centre just below Umyeon mountain.

The Joongang reports that recent storms in North Korea have washed land mines -the exploding kind, if you really didn't know -into South Korea.  It appears that two mines drifted in the ocean and landed on South Korean islands, but the one in Gangwondo was carried by a river.

I have heard that mines shifted by storms, floods and mudslides are a problem in South Korea, too.  Without being able to recall the specifics, I do recall hearing that some mine fields in South Korea are impassible to South Koreans because the current locations of the mines is unknown.

Arirang is also reporting on the story.
Hmm.  the Joongang seems to describe the Gangwon mine as being in a river:
One mine was found on Gyodong Island, one on Bolum Island in Incheon, and the other in Suip Creek in Yanggu District in Gangwon.

...but Arirang states that it was found at sea:
Two were discovered in waters off the west coast near Incheon and the other on the east coast off Gangwon Province.
  I have discussed cross-border flooding before.


Kevin Kim said...

Holy crap! This is something I've never even thought about. Thanks for the heads-up. I'll never view a Korean river (or riverside patch of ground) the same way again.

surprises aplenty said...

Why only Korean rivers? There are probably a few left over from the US Civil War in your neck of the woods.
Back to Korea. From the Defense Monitor:

the Korean Campaign to Ban Landmines (KCBL) has reported that at least 1,000 civilians have been killed or injured by landmines that washed out of the DMZ during seasonal flooding. The effects of flooding on mines have become so severe that the South Korean Air Force initiated a program in 1999 to remove 2,700 landmines from four defense bases outside of Seoul.

Maybe it was a commenter at ROK Drop a few years ago that claimed there was a mine field near Busan that had suffered a landslide and now the mine locations were unknown. I'm not making this up, but I can find nothing online.