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N. Korea's border dam remains partially open amid heavy rains: JCS

All News 11:23 August 11, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Yonhap) -- Floodgates of a North Korean dam near the border with South Korea remain partially open amid heavy rains, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Tuesday, amid concerns the release of dam water could pose threats to South Korean regions downstream.

Whether the North opens the floodgates of Hwanggang Dam has been something to watch for in the South since an abrupt release of dam water in 2009 raised the water levels of the Imjin River downstream and left six campers dead.

The North has since agreed to notify the South in advance of a release but has hardly kept the promise.

"Our assessment is that the floodgates of Hwanggang Dam are partially open due to heavy rains in the North Korean region," JCS spokesperson Col. Kim Jun-rak said during a regular press briefing.

North Korea has recently been hit hard by downpours in many regions, including rice-producing areas in its southern parts. On Monday, state media reported that the North received as much as 200 millimeters of rain in Hwanghae and Kangwon provinces and forecast around 70 mm of rain would fall overnight.

The military is closely monitoring the situation and sharing information with other government agencies to protect the safety of nearby residents and troops, Kim said.

President Moon Jae-in expressed regret last week over Pyongyang not giving Seoul advance notice.

Water gushes out of the floodgates of the Gunnam Dam on the Imjin River that runs across the inter-Korean border in the South Korean border town of Yeoncheon, north of Seoul, on Aug. 6, 2020. The state-run Korea Water Resources Corp. opened all of the dam's 13 floodgates to lower the water level after the region received heavy rain. The dam, opened in 2010, was designed to deal with flash floods from North Korea. (Yonhap)

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