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Heavy Snow Blankets Jeonnam, Jeonbuk

Posted December. 14, 2005 06:15,   


Villagers of Woochi Village, Hampyeong-gun, Jeonnam Province, said, “The skies have abandoned us.”

About 10 plastic greenhouses, located at the entrance of the village and used to grow strawberries, were literally smashed by “snow bombs.” Furthermore, the remaining standing 10 greenhouses are also unstable, hence support pillars have been placed inside. The situation was grimmer inside of the greenhouse. Steel pipes were bent like noodles, and torn vinyl was trashed all over the place. Inside the devastated greenhouses, one could see small flowers and strawberries that had just started to ripen, buried in snow.

This region was hit by 30cm of snow on December 4 and 5 and another 10cm on December 12.

Park Jang-soo, a 53-year-old farmer, sighed, “We can only harvest strawberries once a year, and due to this snow, I will suffer losses exceeding 20 million won.”

Farmers in Shimpyeong Village, about three kilometers away from this village, were cleaning up snow from the top of virtually collapsed plastic greenhouses.

Kim Sang-gwon, a 67-year-old villager, said, “The losses are quite serious, with 13 out of the 20 total greenhouses growing strawberries having collapsed. Even if we want to clean up the damaged greenhouses and build new ones, the supply of steel pipes is not on time, so I can’t do anything.”

As of December 13, the damage caused by massive snow amounted to 135.622 billion won. With restoration rates remaining at 75 percent, there are concerns that restoration might be delayed with forecasts of additional snow to come this week.

Jeonbuk Province residents are also just staring at the sky without being able to do anything.

Cho Byung-chul, 57 years old, farms in Donggok Village, Jeongeup, Jeonbuk Province. Out of his 25 greenhouses that grow radishes and leeks, 22 were destroyed, and most of the winter radishes that he planned to sell next January froze, forcing him to throw them away.

Cho lamented, “After selling the radishes, I planned to start a watermelon farm, but it costs a lot to build new plastic greenhouses, so I can only give up next year’s spring farming. The whole village is mourning like a funeral house.”

In Jeonbuk Province, 60 schools were temporarily shut down, including 40 elementary schools in the Jeongeup area, and suffered other losses such as the suspension of ferries.

The damages suffered in Jeonbuk Province due to snow is estimated to be about 40 billion won – 5,094 wrecked plastic greenhouses, 382 ha of ginseng cultivation, and 54 barns destroyed – but it is predicted that this number will increase in the upcoming days.

Seung-Ho Jung Kwang-Oh Kim shjung@donga.com kokim@donga.com