Since the first Inter-Korean Summit on April 27, 2018, two additional inter-Korean summit talks have been held over a period of five months and various inter-Korean issues have been discussed. In this process, North and South Korea have begun to cooperate to resolve a range of issues, such as the peace-making process on the Korean Peninsula, the reunion of separated families, cultural exchanges, railroad connections and forest greening. However, in these various discussions, the issue of disaster safety, which involves physical and social damage to both South and North Korea, was not addressed.
Due to the abnormal climate, there has been a rise in natural disasters throughout North Korea and the emergence of new disaster safety problems. In the ‘Inform GlobalRisk IndexResults 2018,’North Korea was given a risk index of 5.1 points, the 41st highest risk level among 191 countries (andrew et al., 2018), while South Korea had the 166th highestrisk level.The occurrence of disasters in the border region between South and North Korea has direct or indirect impacts on South Korea.As an example,six people died due to the discharge of the Hwanggang dam in the upstream of the Imjin River, and also there were problems such asstreaming, lack of waterfor agriculture and industrial use, and salting.It is urgent to set up technical measures at the government level to reduce natural disasters due to the ongoing disaster damage in North Korea.
The purpose of this study is to secure the Korean Peninsula against natural disasters by organizing South Korea’sscience and technologiesin the area of natural disasters in order to reduce damages, and to evaluate the applicability ofsaid technologies. Such a plan could lead future responses to natural disasters in a manner that reflectsthe changesin inter-Korean relations. This study examines the possibility of applying South Korea’sscientific technology related to natural disasters in North Korea, and establishes priorities and systematic methods for such applicable technologies. To accomplish this, the study was performed as follows: first, the trend of natural disasters in North Korea was analyzed. Second, an investigation of scientific technology in the field of natural disasters in South Korea was conducted. Third, a prioritization for applying scientific technology of South Korea to North Korea was determined. Through this process, we will systematically utilize our scientific technology to reduce the impact of natural disasters on the Korean Peninsula.
In detail, the situation of natural disasters in North Korea for 17 years has been summarized based on data from the international community and from North Korea. Natural disastersin North Korea were classified into eight types considering the definition of natural disasters in South Korea and the status of natural disaster occurrence in North Korea. Based on this, South Korea’s technologies related to natural disasters were investigated. The technologies were also reclassified according to the type of natural disaster.
In sequence, steps for priority evaluation were performed. Evaluations of technological prowess and of importance were conducted through focus group interviews. Evaluations were performed of the technologies applicable to the natural disaster issue in the whole region of North Korea. The evaluations of South Korea’s natural disaster technology were scored based on technological prowess and importance. Considering the above evaluation results, the prioritization oftechnology application for each natural disaster type in North Korea was calculated through a quadrant analysis.
1) Investigation of Natural Disasters in North Korea
Data of natural disasters in North Korea during the last 17 years(2001 ~ 2017) are summarized asfollows. Due to the North Korean government’s isolationist policy, there is no comprehensive statistical data available about the natural disasters occurring in North Korea. Therefore, the data was mainly summarized using newspapers and press releases from North Korea’s official media. Furthermore, the reliability of the data wasimproved through a comparative analysis with information on North Korea from international organizationsrelated to disasters.In addition, the North Korean materials published and quoted in South Korea were reviewed to minimize missed data. Information on natural disaster response and recovery included in interim reports published by the IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) was used to enable additional confirmation of damage that is difficult to identify.Through a cross-examination and cross-comparison analysis of data from various sources, at a minimum, the official status of natural disastersinNorthKoreawere systematically investigated and summarized (Table 1). The period of investigation for the natural disasters in North Korea is from Jan 2001 to Dec 2017. Data from 2001 to 2015 have been researched and reclassified through existing data in previous research, while data from the last two years have been further investigated (Kang et al., 2016). Statistics related to North Korea published by international organizations and international institutes dated from Jan 2011 to Dec 2017.
Table 1. Source of Natural Disaster Occurrence Investigation in North Korea
2) Reclassification of Natural Disaster Types in South and North Korea
As stated previously, South Korea definesthe causes and consequences of disasters. In the Framework Act on the Management of Disasters and Safety, natural disasters are classified into 17 categories: typhoon, flood, downpour, strong wind, wind and waves, tidal wave, heavy snowfall, cold wave, lightning, drought, heat wave, earthquake,sandy dust, hypertrophied algae, ebb and flow, volcanic activity and crash or collision of a natural space object such as an asteroid and meteoroid. On the other hand, in North Korea, natural disasters are classified according to their cause into meteorological and hydrological disasters, geological disasters, biological disasters, and other disasters, and into 9 types of detailed disasters: flood, heavy rainfall, typhoon, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic activity, damage to human life, agricultural flooding, and landslide.
The definitions of natural disasters used by South Korea and North Korea are fundamentally different in terms of their social background (Table 2). Korea defines a natural disaster as a natural phenomenon causing damage, while North Korea defines a natural disaster as a natural phenomenon that harms people’s lives and economic activities. The concept of disasters used in South Korea is based on cause and effect; the concept in North Korea is considered as societal damage and technical problemsin the military area. In order to understand the different conceptualization of natural disasters used by South and North Korea, the laws related to natural disasters were analyzed; specifically, the definitions and types of natural disasters in North Korea were examined through the Chosun Encyclopedia.
Table 2. Differences between South and North Korean Law in Disaster Classification
3) Classification of Natural Disasters in North Korea
As such, there is a difference between South and North Korea in the definition and type of natural disasters; it is thus necessary to establish unified standards in order to analyze and response to natural disasters cooperatively. Therefore, this study comprehensively analyzed the types of natural disasters defined in South and North Korea. Occurrences of natural disasters in North Korea were also considered. In the investigation and comparison analysis of disasterrelated situations, the types of natural disasters were reclassified and prepared based on South Korea’s Framework Act on the Management of Disasters and Safety (Table 3). “Inter-Korean Forest Cooperation” is the first project of the Panmunjom Declaration ImplementationCommittee, which was established for the realization of the agreement since the first InterKorean Summit on April 27. It shows serious level of deforestation in North Korea. Considering the characteristics of damage caused by natural disasters of deforestation in North Korea (Lee et al., 2016), a specific type of landslide which has been increasing in frequency due to deforestation was added. Forest fire is also one of the serous issues in North Korea which affects the landslides. As a result of the analysis, the scope of the study was defined as eight types of natural disasters including typhoon and strong winds, downpour, flood, landslide, cold wave and heavy snowfall, drought and heat wave, sandy dust, and earthquake.
Table 3. Natural disaster occurrence status in North Korea (2001~2017)
In the past 17 years, the most frequent natural disasters in North Korea have been recorded in earthquakes (114 cases); more than one third of all natural disasters are caused by earthquakes. The number of earthquake occurrencesis much higherthan other natural disasters in North Korea, but the damage is insignificant since the magnitude is relatively small. Most of the earthquakes that occurred were artificial earthquakes with a scale of 2.0 ~ 4.5. On July 13, 2017, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred exceptionally, necessitating monitoring of earthquakes.
Typhoon and strong wind, downpour, and flood are the types of natural disasters that actually cause the huge losses of both life and property. The cumulative frequency of downpour from 2001 to 2017 in North Korea wasthe second highest after earthquakes.About 30% (13 cases) of the total number of downpour is from typhoon; and the occurrence of downpour is accompanied by floods, strong winds, landslides, and tsunamis which lead to extensive damage. For example, betweenAugust 29 and September 2, 2016, downpour in Hamgyung-bukdo led to floods so that hundreds of deaths and more than 60,000 flood victims were reported by Chosun Central Broadcasting (Fig. 1a).
Fig. 1. Damage from Natural Disasters in North Korea (a) flood in 2016 and (b) drought in 2015.
Damage from cold wave and heavy snowfall in North Korea occurred between December and February of each year. In the case of heavy snowfall, Gangwon-do was damaged in February 2011 causing serious damage to agricultural land and economy. Residents in Yangkang-do near Baekdu Mountain suffered the most from the cold wave in 2012. The damage caused by cold waves was greater in areas where infrastructure were not equipped properly in North Korea such as resident protection facilities and socialsafety nets.The drought throughout North Korea was occurred mainly from March to June.The number of drought occurrences was higher in Hwanghae-do than in other areas. From early March 2015, there was a drought throughout North Korea known as one ofthe worst droughts, which continued until June (Fig. 1b).
The results of the investigation of natural disasters in North Korea were reclassified into eight types(Table 3). In addition, the natural disaster occurrence status was arranged by region (Table 4).
Table 4. Regional natural disaster occurrence status in North Korea (2001~2017)
1) NTIS-based Technology Investigation and Classification
In this study, the current state of science and technology related to natural disasters in South Korea was analyzed to set a direction for inter-Korean cooperation with natural disasters. The National Science & Technology Information Service (NTIS) was used to investigate the status of research and development projects related to natural disaster related technology in South Korea (NTIS, 2019). The NTIS is a national science and technology knowledge information portal operated by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Information; it includes information on projects, researchers, research facilities, equipment, and performance. The projects that have been performed in the last 10 years (2008 ~ 2017) were collected and used as analysis data for a generalreview.
To investigate science and technology related to natural disaster, related projects were selected first. Research and development projects were classified through the primary keyword (natural disaster, disaster, safety, etc.) and natural disastertype. Finally, 65 natural disaster-related projects were selected and classified by disastertype.The types of disasters were classified into 8 types according to the types of basic laws in Korea and the natural disaster trends in North Korea, as mentioned above.
2) Priority Evaluation
The current status of technology research and developmentrelated to natural disastersin South Korea wasselected and classified through NTIS investigation based on the eight predefined natural disaster types. A total of 65 technologiesrelated to natural disasters were classified and a maximum of 10 technologies were selected for each type. To evaluate the priorities of applying the selected natural disaster-related technology to the entire North Korea area, the technological prowess and importance of the technology were assessed for each technology.
The priority evaluation was conducted by calculating the technological prowess and the importance evaluation for the scenario that considered the whole region of North Korea. Evaluation criteria and scales were defined according to Table 3; three subcriteria of technological prowess and two subcriteria of importance of the technology were shown. A total of five subcriteria were used for the evaluation with quantified values. Finally, based on the results of the evaluation of each technology, priorities were determined according to the weights (Table 5).
Table 5. Priority Evaluation Standards
(1) Evaluation of technological prowess
An evaluation oftechnological prowess oftechnology research and development related to natural disasters was given on a 9-point scale for the three evaluation subcriteria:1)naturaldisastermonitoring,2) establishment ofresearch infrastructure such as database construction, and 3) integrated management of natural disasters. First, the monitoring technology is considered to have a high level of importance according to the utilization of the natural disaster field, which was evaluated on a 9-pointscale. Second,since infrastructure construction is the center of the application of technology, it is considered that the technical power of data is high according to the degree of relevance of basic database construction such as construction ofspatial information related to natural disasters. Finally, the possibility of integrated use was evaluated on a 9-point scale according to the evaluation standards.
(2) Evaluation of importance through focus group interview
The importance of the research and development of technologies related to natural disasters was evaluated based on the results of focus group interviews. Focus group interviews were conducted with 17 expertsin the field of natural disasters for three weeks starting on October 12, 2018. The selection of experts was made in the process of investigating research papers and related projects on natural disasters in North Korea. Also, researchers from the NTIS research project described above were selected. Specifically, interviews were conducted focusing on the application of technology considering the characteristics of each region. To derive the necessary technology, interview items were divided and interviews were performed based on the scenario of applying technology to the whole region of North Korea. Based on the results of the focus group interview, the importance was evaluated quantitively considering two subcriteria: 1) effectiveness and 2) urgency. First, the necessity and impact of the current inter-Korean natural disaster cooperation was assessed on a 9-point scale to determine the effectiveness, according to the scores measured in the focus group interview. In addition, the urgency was assessed on a 9-point scale based on the opinions presented in the focus group interviews and recent occurrences of natural disastersin North Korea.
Considering the current situation of North Korea which lacks sufficient technology related to natural disasters, the evaluation of technical technological prowess and importance were conducted. Specifically, an evaluation oftechnological prowess was carried out through three evaluation subcriteria, reflecting the possibility of occurrence monitoring, establishment of a research infrastructure such as database construction, and the integrated management of natural disasters. In addition, two evaluation subcriteria, effectiveness and urgency, were used to derive the importance of the technologies. Finally, based on the results of technological prowess and importance evaluation derived from subcriteria, a quadrant analysis was performed and classified into three groups according to the distribution, indicating the priority of the natural disaster technologies.
1) Evaluation Results of Technological Prowess and Importance
As shown in Table 6, the highest score of technological prowess among all research and development technologies wasfound in the application of ‘Implementation of Typhoon Related Disaster Information Database Using Remote Sensing Data’ (8.4). In addition, ‘Development of System for Vulnerability Analysis of Natural Disaster’ (8.1), ‘Development of System for Flood of Stream andRisk Analysis’ (7.5) were also given high technological prowessscores.In the case of South Korea, as well, due to the high level of damage caused by water hazards among the natural disaster types, it is analyzed that the technological prowessranking of water hazardsrelated technology is high. On the other hand, natural disasters involving dust had the lowestscore, with a score of 2.1 given to ‘Monitoring of Dust Activity Over East Asia and Evaluation for Effects of Atmospheric Dynamical Circulations and Large-Scale Climate Variables on Dust Activity’ and ‘Analysis of GPS Satellite Signal Delay Caused ByAsian Dust Storm and Development of Dust Aerosol Observing System Using GPS.’
Table 6. Priority of Required Technology in North Korea (Group I)
Table 6. Continued
Table 6. Continued
Outcomes of the evaluation of the importance of research and development technology for the whole region of North Korea include ‘Development of System for VulnerabilityAnalysis of Natural Disaster,’ ‘Development of Steep-slope Collapse Judgement System based on the GIS,’‘Development of software module in response to drought events based on satellite imagery in Korea,’‘Improvement of understanding and prediction capability for high-impact heavy precipitation systems over the Korean peninsula’ and ‘Research for Typhoon Track Prediction using an End-to-End Deep LearningTechnique,’which were given an importance evaluation score of 7.2.As with the technology prowess evaluation,‘Monitoring of DustActivity over EastAsia and Evaluation for Effects of Atmospheric Dynamical Circulations and Large-Scale Climate Variables on DustActivity,’‘Analysis of GPS Satellite Signal Delay Caused byAsian Dust Storm and Development of Dust Aerosol Observing System Using GPS’were given the lowest score, of 3.0. The following cold wave and heavy snowfall type technologies also had a score of 3.0: ‘The Development of Heavy Snowfall Casualty Minimization Policies and Optimal Road Snow Removal Systems Considering Climate Change,’ ‘Estimation of Acute·Chronic Diseases and Mortality in Extreme Weather (Heat) in Korea,’ ‘Development of Key-Technologies for Disseminating Earthquake Ground-Motion Effects,’‘Technical Developments of Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Policies for Abnormal Climates’ as well as the drought and heat wave technology ‘Development of Assessment Techniques for Hydrological Drought Risk Based on Bayesian Network Model.’
2) Priority Evaluation by Quadrant Analysis
In the previous process, total 65 natural disasterrelated projects in Table 6 were scored by numerically quantifying the technology prowess and importance of each technology. Based on the evaluation results of technological prowess and importance, an overall priority analysis was performed by quadrant analysis (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Priority Evaluation Result by Quadrant Analysis
Based on the results of the quadrant analysis, the priority of the technologies was derived which could be a basic technology in joint research and development; technologies related to natural disasters were divided into three groups according to their priorities. As a result, three broad categories of highpriority technologies were shown as: natural disaster monitoring with spatial information technology, construction of a research basis and database based on the geographic information system (GIS) and integrated management of complex natural disasters. The priority construction of research databases from natural disaster monitoring technology in spatial information formatforthe whole of North Korea could be used as a generic technology in the future for joint research and development in the area of natural disasters.
In the result of this study, the natural disaster technologiesthat need to be applied to the North Korea region were categorized into three groups. As the quality of life in North Korea is low, those that affect survival and everyday life are given priority. Technologiesrelated to natural disastersthat can cause serious secondary damage such as downpour and typhoons have higher priority. Therefore, regardless of the frequency of occurrence, earthquake technologies have a low significance level due to the small amount of damage. Sandy dust technologies that do not cause immediate personal injury are relatively low.
Due to the development of inter-Korean relations and the ongoing disastersin North Korea, it is necessary to prepare technical measures to reduce damage from disasters at the government level. It is also needed to take measuresto strengthen the fundamental capability of North Korea’s disaster response. However, due to the closed attitude of North Korea, it isfocused on oneoff support rather than improvement of the underlying environment. Therefore, a system should be built in order to realize joint research and development. After that, it will be possible to prepare a scientific response system related to natural disastersthrough inter-Korean cooperation.
Research and technology that have already been performed in South Korea could be applied in North Korea region (Park et al., 2018; Lee and Lee, 2017; Baek et al., 2017). Among these technologies, when the research and development technologiesincluded in Group I which has a high priority are developed first, accurate natural disasterinformation about North Korea will be supported and a long-term support system will be provided. The results show that the three major categories of high-priority technologies are natural disaster monitoring with remote sensing and spatial information technology, construction of a research basis and database based on geographic information system (GIS) and integrated management of complex natural disasters.
Specifically, the research and development technologies included in Group I will be included as a priority, and a plan will be prepared for an integrated response to natural disastersin South and North Korea by integrating the North Korean natural disaster information base. Prediction of natural disasters through spatial analysis is very important for the reduction measures establishment. Accordingly, it is possible to establish inter-Korean cooperation by establishing basic research infrastructure including spatial dataset that has not yet been established in North Korea. In addition, research and development technologies with lower priority were reflected in the priorities required from the medium and long-term perspectives.
With increasing natural disasters, various monitoring techniques are being developed in South Korea. Especially, a difficult-to-reach area such as North Korea, it is necessary to use remote sensing technology. It is also possible to continuously monitor large areas periodically. Typically, monitoring of droughts (Kim and Shim, 2017) and geological disasters(Hervás et al., 2017) such as landslides using optical satellite images has been performed.Aflood monitoring study was also conducted using radar satellite imagery (De Groeve, 2010).
Furthermore, establishment of an integrated research infrastructure is important for natural disaster management through cooperation with North Korea. Due to the exclusive characteristics of North Korea, construction andmanagement ofspatial data for natural disastertechnologiesis difficult.It is necessary to build an infrastructure based on GIS and manage various natural disasters in an integrated way
Since recent natural disasters tend to occur more complexly than single disasters, an integrated disaster response system should be established through spatial distribution monitoring and data accumulation using continuous remote sensing data.
As such, integration and stable exchange of information on natural disasters could be enabled through joint research and development. The results of this analysis of the priorities of technology development related to natural disasters could lead to an expansion of application of this area of science and technology. Furthermore, it will be possible to establish a plan for a joint response to natural disasters.
Thisresearch was conducted at Korea Environment Institute (KEI) with supportfrom ‘AStudy on Planning Disaster SafetyResearch and Development Projectsfor Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation’ by Ministry of the Interior and Safety, and the Basic Science Research Programfunded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2018R1D1A1B07041203).
Grant : A Study on Planning Disaster Safety Research and Development Projects for Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation
Supported by : Korea Environment Institute (KEI), Ministry of Education
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