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Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.
South Korea’s Rescue Association said on Monday that North Korea formally requested help following the collapse of a 23 floor apartment in Pyongyang in May.
North Korea requested assistance with “reconstruction and disease control efforts” in early June, it was announced at a Ministry of Unification press briefing on Monday.
“The Korea Rescue Association got a request from the ‘General Bureau of Red Star Construction’ for assistance related to the Pyongyang apartment collapse, [and] on July 6th they submitted a request to visit North Korea,” a Daily NK translation of the statement said.
The statement added that the Korea Rescue Association requested entry into North Korea on June 26 to further investigate the situation, but were still awaiting a decision.
Unusually, the request for South Korean assistance appears to have come nearly four weeks after the May 13 accident occurred, on June 9.
Last week NK News confirmed North Korea’s account of the accident, which experts described to be an extremely rapid four day search, rescue and clean-up operation.
Experts from the search and rescue domain said the rapid pace of the post-accident clean-up meant the lives of survivors had possibly been put at risk, citing the importance of extended, delicate rescue operations following building collapse incidents.
Coming at such a late stage, North Korea’s request for South Korean assistance may focus on assessing the structural integrity of similarly designed buildings around Pyongyang.
Picture: NK News