Flash floods in North Korea

Normally when we look at satellite imagery of North Korea it is because there is something interesting relating to the politics of the country, such as statues, uranium plants or nuclear tests.

We recently came across this article about a flash flood event that struck the northern towns of Sonbong and Rason back in August 2015, so we had a look at the imagery. There is quite a lot to see. Luckily, the region is fairly sparsely populated, so there is not a lot of damage to infrastructure. Almost all the rivers in the region have clearly widened dramatically due to the flash flood.

What we found interesting is that many of the rivers seem to have flooded even though they have relatively small catchment areas. Normally, floods are most common for large rivers with large catchment areas, whereas these are mostly just streams a few kilometres long. Also the floods seem to have been confined to a relatively small area around the two towns and a bit further north, as we could not find signs of flooding further inland.


A bridge washed away.


Some houses washed away (we count 6).

To see the above locations and a number of other interesting sights in Google Earth download this KML file.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.






PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.



PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.