Flooding in Jilin province – upriver from Dandong – has strained the province’s dam system. Trash has been swept into the rivers, blocking water flow, and some fear potentially disrupting the operation of the Yunfeng dam, which is currently at full capacity.
In order to alleviate pressure built up behind the dam, officials have chosen to release water. With the floods in Jilin unabating, the already swollen Yalu River now flows quickly and menacingly through the cities of Dandong and Sinuiju, a city across the river that is a part of the Sinuiju Special Administrative Region that was established in 2002 to experiment with introducing a market economy into parts of North Korea.
Preparation is evident up the river, into the countryside, with roads being blocked off and agricultural goods and workers moved to safety. The city of Dandong itself has a three-meter high floodwall and, using a system of sand and wooden planks, has barricaded all but the main road leading to the riverside.