Red alert hoisted over North Korea rocket launch

by Jojo Malig,

Posted at Apr 04 2012 07:34 PM | Updated as of Apr 05 2012 08:39 AM

View North Korea rocket flight path in a larger map

Click, zoom, and scroll through the interactive Google map to see where east of the Philippines will parts of North Korea's long-range rocket are expected to fall.

Stay indoors from April 12 to 16, PNRI advises almost entire Luzon

No-fly, no-sail, no-fishing zone in east Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and its attached agencies are now on red alert in light of North Korea's planned rocket launch this month.

ODC administrator Benito Ramos told ANC on Wednesday that the OCD has started coordinating with national government agencies and local governments in areas that may be affected by debris from the rocket.

Ramos, who also chairs the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said a "no-fly zone, no-sail zone, and no-fishing zone" will be enforced in the area east of the Philippines where the rocket's second stage is expected to fall.

The NDRRMC, in its latest advisory on the rocket launch, said the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) has suggested a "stay indoors" policy for residents of Metro Manila and Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, and 5 when North Korea launches the rocket any day from April 12 to 16.

"The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) – DOST submits the 'STAY INDOORS' policy for the residents of Regions 1, 2, 3 4A, 4B, NCR and 5 during the 12-16 April 2012 period, particularly between 0600H to 1200H," the PNRI said.

"PNRI will continue to monitor and issue periodic advisories and precautionary measures to the NDRRMC and the general public. In the event of a suspected radiation report, NDRRMC with the recommendation of PNRI will activate the Radiological Plan (RADPLAN)," it added.

No nuclear warhead

The advisory quoted PNRI Director Alumanda de la Rosa as saying that the rocket is not expected to carry any nuclear warhead.

"Accordingly, there is no reported radioactive material that will be carried onboard," the NDRRMC said.

The agency on Wednesday revealed the geographic coordinates of the area where the rocket's second stage is expected to fall.

NDRRMC data confirmed an report earlier Friday on the rocket debris splashdown area. based its report on a leaked North Korean document.

Interactive map: Where will North Korea rocket debris fall?

The first stage of the rocket is expected to come down in waters west of South Korea.

The rocket, which North Korea claims will carry satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 to Earth orbit, will then continue on a southward trajectory before jettisoning its second stage in waters east of the Philippines.

The following coordinates enclose the impact site for the second stage:

15°8’ 19” N 124°46’ 15” E
15°9’ 35” N 123°45’ 27” E
19°23’ 8” N 124°45’ 13” E
19°24’ 32” N 123°54’ 26” E

Ramos said the North Korean embassy gave the coordinates to the Chinese government, which in turn gave them to the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines.

"Wala tayong specific kung gaano kaliliit o gaano kalalaki ang tipak nitong debris na ito kapag nag-disintegrate, [kung] mas malaki ito sa 747 na eroplano at mas mahaba pa sa 747," he said.

Maximum effective range test

He added that North Korea is testing the long-range rocket to know its maximum effective range.

He added that Pyongyang's estimates are not accurate and the rocket may overshoot or undershoot targets.

"May may problema tayo kung ito ay magkamali ng kahit one millimeter veering to the right from the launching pad," he said.

"Tatama ito sa kalupaan ng Northern Luzon. That is why it is risky," Ramos said.  "If the rocket overshoots, it will hit Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes."

The NDRRMC said other areas that are under threat from the falling debris if the rocket veers away from its plotted trajectory are the eastern part of Region 2, Polilio Island, as well as the main island of Luzon.

Same as Taepodong missile

The disaster management agency is calling the rocket launch as a long-range ballistic missile test. Other countries also believe the rocket launch is a veiled missile test.

"The Unha rocket is essentially the same as a Taepodong missile.. a delivery system for weapons of mass destruction," the NDRRMC said.

Japan and South Korea have warned that they will shoot down the rocket if it enters their airspace.

Threat to ASEAN, says PNoy

President Benigno Aquino in Wednesday called for a concerted international action to stop North Korea's rocket launch.

Aquino said the plan violates United Nations Security Council resolutions and poses risks to the entire ASEAN region.

He said Pyongyang should abandon the launch and instead return to confidence building talks with its neighbors. - with reports from ANC

View North Korea rocket flight path in a larger map