|2008/08/12 16:56||2008/08/12 16:56 | Green Society|
Two Army soldiers were buried to death under a landslide triggered by a local downpour in Yangu-gun, Kangwon Province on July 24th. This has made us aware of the need to prepare for the natural disaster caused by a weather abnormalcy or a heavy rain. By making two-year-long on-the-spot investigation into the whole area of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) from June, 2006, the Green Korea United has found that a landslide occurred in Cheorwon, Hwacheon, Yanggu, Inje, Goseong in Kangwon Province where the CCL existed. 95 hectares of forest fell off. We could directly realize the seriousness of the landslide in the damaged areas. The issue of a landslide in the areas threatens the security of the Army soldiers serving there and causes them much inconvenience. Moreover, a landslide is a contributing factor affecting the destruction of the worthwhile natural ecosystem around the CCL. There, however, has been no repair work like structural improvement for about 30 years since 1970s. On this, the Green Korea United urges the government to take measures against a landslide.
A landslide forms a belt along the CCL in the mountainous area of Kangwon Province
As of July, 2008, the most major factor affecting the destruction of the forest ecosystem in the whole area of the DMZ is a landslide. An extensive landslide occurs near the military tactical roads. The torrential rains triggered by an unusual change of weather are so frequent in these areas that a growing number of landslides occur. Kangwon Province is most heavily damaged by a landslide and the landslide is occurring along with the CCL. Centering around Daeseong Mountain, Mal Ridge, Jeokgeun Mountain, and Samcheon Peak, which is on the range of Hanbook vein, a landslide is centered on the North Han River located in the eastern part of the country. In addition, a landslide reaches out to Hyangro Peak and Geonbong Mountain located in the basin of the East Coastal area.
A landslide, the dead space of forest destruction
A landslide in the CCL area in Kangwon Province in particular occurs in the area of an ecological treasure house. Throughout Hyangro Peak in Goseong-gun, widespread landslides in various places have occurred centering around the mountain peak. It has now really ugly appearance. Hyangro Peak that is in the reservation for the natural monument, is under the supervision of the Cultural Heritage Administration in obedience to the Cultural Property Management Law. However, the Cultural Heritage Administration leaves the area as it is without any plans for repair or restoration work. The same is true when it comes to ecologically valuable area of Geonbong Mountain and Gojindong Valley. In various places designated as 산림유전자원보호림, earth and sand flowed out due to landslides and in turn, this causes rocks and stones to fall to the deep in the valley, which destroys the ecosystem there as well as the scenic beauty. A landslide has continuously occurred between the Geonbong Ridge and the Geonbong Temple so that the landslide throughout Geonbong Ridge can be seen on the National Road No. 7 in Ganseon-eup. Around the Eulji observation tower in Haean-myun, Yanggu-gu, you can find that the earth and sand flowed into the admission passage like a belt in the bottom of the mountain. You can observe it far out from the Dolsan Ridge. The issue of a landslide gets more serious through Baekseok mountain. Even though a landslide occurred in the various military tactical roads in the northern part of the mountain, no repair work has been started yet. The damage triggered by a landslide will destroy forest ecosystem and cause a disturbance in the ecosystem on the lower part of the river.
Road constructions with scant regard for environment and engineering are the main cause.
The most heavily damaged are the whole areas of the DMZ along the central eastern front line. These areas are deep in the mountains and they have rugged topography and are also very steep. Due to the military tactical roads that were built with scant regard for the mountain’s peculiarity, the damage is growing more and more. Nine out of ten cases of the landslide occurs around the military tactical roads built before 1980s. Those roads were constructed in general from late 1960s through 1970s to early 1980s. In order to meet the requirements for military security, an engineer corps constructed the roads on the mountainous ridge line or the steep slope of the mountain. With less budge and poor technology, it was difficult to take the cut areas and the earth laid on the ground into consideration when they build the roads. They did not take account of environment and engineering and did not also come up with the idea of the draining facilities which is the key to preventing a landslide. When we have a heavy downpour during the monsoon seas or when the typhoon passes by the country, poor draining facilities gives rise to a landslide. As a result of the road construction, a growing number of landslides started to occur in the mid-1990s. The roads are especially vulnerable to heavy downpour. After the year 2000, as the torrential rains triggered by weather abnormalcy increase, the damage from them is growing more and more. But in that it is hard for civilians to have access to the areas, what is worse, some part of them are mine fields, the systematic restoration work seems distant.
The risk of a landslide through the southern area of the CCL
Among the military facilities which lie extensively in a mountainous district of Kangwon and Kyunggi Province, the tactical or supply roads are the most vulnerable to a landslide. A military unit or an Army post of various kinds that conduct a duty of controlling, communication, anti-artillery stands close together here. Beginning with Paju, Yeoncheon, Yangpyung, Gapyung in Kyunggi Province, almost all the military facilities that are located in a mountainous district of Inje, Hongcheon, Pyungchang, Hoengseong, Wonju in Kangwon Province are now exposed to the risk of a landslide.
The risk of a disaster in military units
For the military unit, a landslide occurring throughout the DMZ is a major source of trouble. If a landslide occurs, it is impossible for the troops to move from one place to another, and also a landslide causes inconvenience to their barracks life. A landslide area in Baekseok Mountain can be an example. The risk of a disaster in military units is increasing. The defense budget for this is extremely insufficient to take measures for restoring this area. This is why the military units are not able to take measures against a landslide.
The risk of military units and the countermeasures against it
In addition to the military tactical roads, the risk of a landslide in military units is growing in several places. In the north of the CCL, the area where a landslide has already occurred or has the possibility of occurring in the tactical roads, has a good possibility that a landslide occurs in the military units. This is true of the whole area of the northern area of the CCL, including the platoon, company, and battalion class GOP line. The same is true when it comes to the old barracks as well as the new ones that were built on a large scale during the former President Roh’s tenure of office.
Suggestions and countermeasures
Thereupon, in order to prevent and restore the landslide in the area of the CCL, the Green Korea United suggests as follows:
- It is necessary to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the military facilities in the front line including the CCL in order to make a risk assessment of this area. For this, the Defense Ministry and the Korea Forest Service need to form a joint investigation committee to make a risk assessment of the major tactical roads and military units.
- The issue of a landslide in the area of the CCL needs to be dealt with on the level of the government. It is urgent that the legislature draw up an estimate for this work.
- The authority needs to designate the tactical roads in the CCL mountainous district as forest roads and have them under its supervision. Once those roads are designated as forest roads, it would be possible that the authority can take preventive actions or conduct repair works in the name of the structural improvement when landslides, collapses, or erosions break out.
- When a landslide occurs due to a localized heavy rain in summer, the authority needs to conduct an active investigation to measure the damage and make up a revised supplementary budget to start emergency repair work, not neglect the area as dead space.
- The landslide in the CCL area has devastating effect on the military but it is in trouble because of insufficient budget as well as the lack of countermeasures against a landslide. Under the supervision of the Prime Minister, the countermeasure committee needs to be formed to prevent and restore a landslide. The committee should include the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, and the Korea Forest Service.