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People of the Manholes, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
February 27, 2013

  According to the Government of Mongolia, the population living in Ulaanbaatar is about one million, one third of the whole population of Mongolia. But in reality, half of that population actually lives in Ulaanbaatar, according to the National Geographic Magazine. Ulaanbaatar has no outlet for its overflowing population so why does most of the Mongolian population live there? 


  Because of this overpopulation, many problems have arisen. With the crisis of overcrowding, people who have created a new kind of lifestyle have appeared. They are called “Men of the Manhole.”


  The problem was far more serious than we could have imagined. Both the Mongolian Government and the Mongolian Police authorities denied that they existed. Although they were trying to deny the existence of these people, we could usually find them in the streets. One day in 2005, a Korean international student walked the streets of Ulaanbaatar. While he was walking, he stepped into a manhole and was hurt so badly that he was kept in the hospital. After being treated, he testified that “I saw people in there! They were hiding without making the slightest sound.”



  On January 19, 2013, a letter had arrived at the office of ADRA Korea. It was a request for relief from Pr. Hashik Kang who is a Pioneer Missionary Movement (PMM) missionary in Mongolia. He asked ADRA to help the “Men of the Manhole.” They are homeless people living underground. They must have moved below the ground to get out of the freezing cold. There are “Men of the Manhole” also living underground in Suhbator Square, a famous tourist attraction in Ulaanbaatar. This is the fanciest place in Mongolia but there is also terrible polarization. The National Geographic Magazine points out that it is an “Another side of Ulaanbaatar.”


  Some scholars state that it is a natural phenomenon because these people had to get out of the minus ten degrees weather. They could not survive the head-to-head competition for housing but their failure was not due to a lack of abilities. Pr. Hashik Kang said, “I was shocked by these people in the manholes. Some of them died from the thick fumes created by the fires they made in a drain or some of them died by frostbite. How can you just turn your back on these poor people? I could not forget their eyes. I saw a spark in their eyes. So I wrote this letter to you asking for relief.”

Pr. Kang requested several items they need such as food, winter coats, medical supplies, hygiene supplies and education. Accordingly, ADRA agreed that they will discuss this matter and formulate a plan to help them. They stated, “God will help us to find a proper way to help them. We will pray continuously together.” Yes, now is the time to pray for them and help them quickly.