North Korean Building Collapsed Killing ‘Hundreds,’ Source Says

A North Korean guard tower, next to dilapidated houses, guards the border near the North Korean city Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. A building in Pyongyang collapsed due to overdeployment of manpower on site, a source on North Korea told South Korea press Thursday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

SEOUL, April 21 (UPI) — A building in Pyongyang allegedly collapsed, leading to the death of “hundreds,” according to a source on North Korea.

The report from South Korean news network Channel A stated the accident occurred on April 10, five days before North Korea’s observance of the “Day of the Sun,” or founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday anniversary.

According to the source, the accident was thoroughly covered up. The building was located on Ryomyong Street, or “Avenue of Dawn,” a new residential district near Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the mausoleum of Kim Il Sung.

The building, located between Kumsusan and the Youngsaeng Tower, a landmark in Pyongyang, was in the process of being taken down when the accident occurred.

“Due to lack of equipment and skilled labor, too much manpower was deployed at the site. Workers were dismantling the buildings with their bare hands,” the source said.

The building’s framework crumbled but no rescuers were deployed to the site for 10 days, the source said, making it likely many victims of the collapse died at the site.

North Korea has previously publicized the district as an area to be dedicated to Pyongyang’s scientists – a group of professionals who have been the toast of the country since the launch of an orbiting satellite in February.

The street should be built to suit a “civilized socialist nation, and transform Pyongyang into a city of even more magnificent splendor,” Kim Jong Un had said in March.

The first phase of construction completed in 2015 reportedly cost $88.4 million, a significant sum of money in a country with a gross national income of $29.8 billion.

Pyongyang has been urging its population to engage in a “speed battle” against time in various construction projects that is part of the state’s plan to launch economic initiatives.

But the deployment of inexperienced construction workers or engineers tasked with fast-paced renovation projects has led to other accidents, including at a power plant in Mount Paektu, and at least one collapsed apartment building.


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