Photographer: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea Opens Floodgates at Dam Near Border With South

Updated on
  • South fears flooding from discharge amid heavy rainfall
  • 6 South Koreans killed in 2009 after North opened floodgates

North Korea released water from a dam near its border with South Korea without warning, raising fears of flooding in the South amid torrential rain in recent days.

North Korea appears to have gradually opened the floodgates at around 6 a.m. Wednesday, Yonhap News reported, citing an unidentified South Korea military official. The water level under a bridge on the Imjin river in South Korea rose suddenly, Yonhap said, prompting the evacuation of residents who live along the river.

No major damage or injuries have been reported so far, according to YTN cable TV’s live broadcast.

South Korea has been closely monitoring the water level at the Hwanggang Dam, just north of the border. While the military has said it doesn’t believe North Korea would engage in a “flooding attack,” the Defense Ministry had been preparing to provide emergency assistance if North Korea suddenly opened the floodgates.

North Korea discharged water from the dam without warning in 2009, killing six South Koreans camping downstream. Shortly after the incident, North Korea agreed to alert the South whenever it planned to release water from the dam. In May, however, North Korea twice discharged water from the dam without warning, according to Yonhap News. No one was harmed in the two incidents.

Rainfall eased Wednesday after two days of downpour that prompted South Korea’s weather agency to issue an evacuation alert Tuesday to residents living in areas prone to mudslides and flooding.