Floods and evacuations in North Korea, Kim Jong Un sends equipment
Steph Deschamps / August 8, 2021
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday ordered the dispatch of relief supplies to flood-hit areas of the country, from which some 5,000 people had to be evacuated.
Images broadcast Saturday by state-run KCTV showed houses flooded to roof level as well as what appeared to be damaged bridges, following heavy rainfall. Hundreds of hectares of farmland were submerged in the southern province of South Hamgyong and roads and homes affected after dikes broke, the channel reported. These bad weather conditions come after Kim Jong Un acknowledged in June that his country was facing a tense food situation. He ordered on Sunday the dispatch of equipment and financial support to help South Hamgyong province in its campaign to return to normalcy, according to the state news agency KCNA. Officials from the province discussed on Thursday emergency measures to quickly stabilize people's lives in the most affected areas, it said. With the ground already soggy, further rainfall could cause even more damage, Ri Yong Nam, deputy chief of North Korea's meteorological service, warned KCTV.
We expect heavy rains until August 10 in several areas, mainly near the east coast, he said. North Korea is likely to face a food shortage of 860,000 tons this year, according to a forecast by the UN food agency (FAO) released in July. The agency warned of a difficult lean season between August and October. The North Korean regime, under international sanctions for its banned military programs, has long struggled to feed its population and regularly suffers from food shortages. The pressure on the North Korean economy has been compounded by the closure of borders ordered to combat the coronavirus pandemic and a series of storms and floods in 2020. North Korea experienced a severe famine in the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands of people, following the reduction of aid from Moscow after the Soviet collapse.