At least 200 people have died as a result of a catastrophe that occurred on October 10th.
According to Fox News, around 200 people died during a tunnel cave-in, and first responders were crushed by a second cave-in. It occurred during construction efforts at an underground nuclear test site in North Korea.
The test site is Punggye-ri, where North Korea has been conducting a number of nuclear tests under the large mountain. Japanese news sources believe the collapse is a result of the damage caused by the Sept. 3 nuclear test of what North Korea claims was a hydrogen bomb.
While the tunnel collapse and massive loss of life haven’t been confirmed by any officials, experts have long been concerned that the mountain was ready to collapse as a result of the nuclear testing. The hydrogen bomb detonation is considered 10 times more powerful then the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II.
The test on Sept. 3 triggered a sizable 6.3 magnitude earthquake with lingering tremors since. Satellite 38 North, a satellite dedicated to monitoring North Korea, showed images of multiple landslides that occurred in North Korea as a result of the test. Mount Mantap was also reported to have signs of a “collapse chimney crater”.
What’s concerning about the collapse of the underground test site is the possible release of radiation. After the test in September, the radioactive isotope Xenon-133 was detected in South Korea.
Experts believe that if the peak of Mount Mantap collapses, it could produce a cloud of radioactive dust and gases that could cover the region. Chair of the China Nuclear Society, Wang Naiyan, warned reporters of this possibility. “We call it ‘taking the roof off.’ If the mountain collapses and the hole is exposed, it will let out many bad things.”
He also said that, due to the threat it poses to China, North Korea needed to cease underground nuclear testing immediately, stating, “A 100 kiloton bomb is a relatively large bomb. The North Korean government should stop the tests as they pose a huge threat not only to North Korea but to other countries, especially China.”
Again, the tunnel collapse hasn’t been confirmed by military or government officials, and North Korea hasn’t made any statements. These reports have been made by both Japanese and South Korean news sources, citing a North Korean official as the source.
If true, this is a terrible tragedy for the people of North Korea, and further evidence that Kim Jong-un needs to cease his nuclear tests. It also tells of the accidental danger his nuclear testing may put the rest of the world in.
Is Kim-Jong-un at fault for the tunnel’s collapse?
If a disaster like a mountain collapse could release a radioactive cloud of debris that could travel to China, it’s understandable why North Korea would’ve kept an event like this under wraps. A tunnel collapse is evidence of the mountain’s instability and confirms their ally’s worst fears.
Hopefully, these reports are false rumors, but if it’s true that 200 people lost their lives, our thoughts and prayers go to them and their families.