Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Satellite images and landslide analysis reveal undisclosed destruction in North Korea

27.11.2006
New satellite pictures released today captured by the micro-satellite TopSat reveal for the first time the full extent of the destruction in North Korea caused by super typhoon Bilis in July this year.

North Korea’s official fatality figures as a result of the typhoon is 549 people, with a further 295 people reported as missing. However, analysis by Durham University’s International Landslide Centre reveals that the death toll is likely to have been well over 10,000 people, and possibly even considerably more than this.

Following concerning reports from NGOs in South Korea of 57,000 fatalities, landslide expert Professor Dave Petley and his team at Durham University’s International Landslide Centre commissioned satellite images from TopSat, a new micro-satellite designed and built by a QinetiQ-led consortium of British firms, and examined detailed before and after images of the town Yangdok in North Korea in order to determine the actual impact of the typhoon.

The before and after satellite images of Yangdok reveal clear evidence of devastating floods and landslides from 14 to 17 July 2006. Landslides occurred on many slopes, ripping through the communities in the valleys. In addition, the rivers overflowed their banks, sweeping away bridges and apartment blocks. In just one small community on the outskirts of Yangdok at least 27 large apartment blocks were destroyed or seriously damaged. As the floods and landslides occurred between midnight and 4 am, it is likely that people were buried or drowned in the lower storeys of buildings that were not destroyed.

Across the area studied, which is just a small part of the total region devastated by the typhoons, there is ample evidence of severe damage to infrastructure, including washed out bridges; destroyed roads and railway lines; and complete infilling of reservoirs. In addition, there appears to have been extensive damage to agricultural land, which will inevitably seriously affect food production in the future.

Since the event there is some evidence of the construction of new buildings in both the towns and the rural areas, although the numbers are very much less than that of the destroyed buildings.

Professor David Petley, Director of Durham’s International Landslide Centre said: “It is clear that the level of damage is extremely high. Based on experience from other disasters sites and as the flood is believed to have happened in the middle of the night, when many of the inhabitants in the mainly residential buildings were sleeping, it is likely that the death toll associated with these floods would have been very high, probably well over 10,000 rather than the official figure of 549. Certainly Typhoon Bilis resulted in a disaster on an epic scale in North Korea.”

Professor Petley's report will now form part of the unique global database of landslide fatalities that the International Landslide Centre is compiling in which all known fatal landslide and rockfall events are collated, to allow the team to analyse patterns of occurrence in space and time.

TopSat, the new technology that provided the images for this study, is a micro-satellite system that provides high resolution imaging of the Earth quickly and cost effectively. The satellite is designed to return its data directly to a mobile ground station immediately after collecting an image, allowing far more timely delivery of the information which it collects than standard satellites. The system is specifically designed to meet operational timescales, whether for disaster relief, news-gathering, or other applications where speed of response is vital.

"We are delighted that TopSat has made this important study possible," commented Ian Reid, Managing Director of QinetiQ's Space Division. "QinetiQ is able to respond to short notice tasking, delivering TopSat images quickly and at low cost."

The UK consortium behind TopSat was formed and is led by QinetiQ, a global defence and security company who own the satellite and are responsible for day-to-day operations. It also includes CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory who designed and built the camera, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) who built the spacecraft bus and Infoterra who are responsible for data exploitation. The programme, originally funded by the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and the UK Ministry of Defence, is now a commercial venture.

Media and Public Affairs Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.durham.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Polymers Based on Boron?

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered

18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>