Scores of people were killed or injured when houses and schools collapsed in a village near Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province on Sept. 3 when North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, a source said Thursday.
SAND (South and North Development), a defectors' think tank in Seoul, quoted the source as reporting after a recent trip to the area that the powerful artificial earthquake created by the nuclear test caused the collapse of dozens of houses in the village of Sindong-ri, about 8 km away.
Collective farms suffered the most damage, the source said. The damage was serious because the houses are built on wooden stilts. Schoolchildren also suffered because the regime did not warn schools of the imminent test.
"Sept. 3 was a Sunday, but some 150 students were waiting in their classrooms to do some work," the source said. "Casualties occurred when half of the school building crumbled."
Nevertheless, the regime mobilized farmers in the disaster area to harvest crops, which it said was more important than restoring the damage.
"Farmers couldn't even think of repairing the damage because they're busy harvesting crops even though three months have passed since their houses were destroyed," the source added. "Displaced farmers are staying in temporary shelters or living with neighbors whose houses sustained less damage."
The source said if that is the situation 8 km away, the damage in Punggye-ri must be even worse.
Earlier, Japan's Asahi TV reported that up to 100 people were trapped and about 200 killed when an underground tunnel collapsed at the test site. North Korea denied the report.
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