Floods in North Korea cause thousands to evacuate
More than a thousand homes were damaged and about 5,000 people evacuated in North Korea after flooding caused by heavy rains, the country’s state broadcaster reported, with swathes of farmland also inundated by the deluge.
The reports come as concern grows about damage to crops and the possible impact on food supplies in North Korea, which is cut off from most foreign imports and aid by self-imposed border restrictions aimed at preventing a coronavirus outbreak, as well as by international sanctions.
North Korea was recently forced to release emergency military rice reserves as its food shortage worsened, according to South Korea’s spy agency. A heatwave and drought have reduced the food supply in the country, which cut itself off from most foreign imports and aid to prevent a coronavirus outbreak, and is also subject to international sanctions.
Although there have been no reports of mass starvation or social chaos, observers have said they expect a further deterioration of the country’s food supplies until the autumn harvest.
North Korea is now under self-imposed isolation to protect itself against the coronavirus pandemic, and as a result trade with Beijing its economic lifeline has slowed to a trickle.
North Korea could, in theory, give its entire population a single COVID-19 vaccine shot in less than 10 days, using vaccines that require standard refrigeration, such as AstraZeneca’s, according to a U.S. website monitoring the reclusive state. The North has so far reported no COVID-19 cases, though it has closed off its border with China and taken stringent quarantine rules to fend off any influx of the virus.