Inside the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex by Ray Cunningham
Hŭngnam was the third largest city in North Korea. It is a port city on the eastern coast, in South Hamgyong Province, on the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea). The city covers an area of 250 square kilometers. It is only eight miles from the slightly inland city of Hamhung. In 2005 it became a ward of Hamhung.
During the early 1940s, Hŭngnam was the site of Asia's first known cyclotron. It was constructed as part of the Japanese atomic program. After the surrender of Japan in 1945, this was seized by the Soviet military.
The port at Hŭngnam was the site of a major evacuation of both United Nations military and North Korean civilians during the Korean War in late December 1950. Approximately 100,000 troops and material and 100,000 civilians were loaded onto a variety of merchant ships and military transports totaling 193 shiploads over the weeks leading up to Christmas 1950, and were transported to safety in Pusan and other destinations in South Korea. The evacuation included 14,000 refugees who were transported on one ship, the SS Meredith Victory - the largest evacuation from land by a single ship. This was made possible by a declaration of national emergency by President Truman issued on 16 December 1950 with Presidential Proclamation No. 2914, 3 C.F.R. 99 (1953). This operation was the culmination of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, in which the embattled UN troops fought their way out of a Chinese trap.
The population has been estimated at (variously) 200,000 or 450,000; the official North Korean population figure is 700,000 but this is disputed.
The city is home to the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex, which has allegedly also been used to manufacture chemical weapons. Other industrial facilities include the February 8 Vinylon Factory Complex. It is also home to Hungnam Chemical Engineering College.
Media related to Hŭngnam at Wikimedia Commons