Floods and evacuations in North Korea, Kim Jong-un sends equipment

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday ordered relief supplies to be sent to the country’s flood-affected areas, from which about 5,000 people have been evacuated.

Pictures broadcast by the official KCTV channel, Saturday, showed houses that were flooded to roof level, as well as bridges apparently damaged due to the heavy rain.

The channel reported that “hundreds of hectares of farmland” had inundated in South Hamgyong Province, damaging roads and homes after dams collapsed.

The bad weather comes after Kim Jong-un admitted in June that his country was facing a “stressed food situation”.

He ordered supplies and financial support sent on Sunday to help South Hamgyong Province get back to normal, according to the official KCNA news agency.

On Thursday, she said, officials in that county discussed “emergency measures to quickly stabilize people’s lives in the hardest-hit areas.”

With the soil already wet, more rain could cause more damage, Ri Yong Nam, vice president of North Korea Weather Services, told KCTV. “We expect heavy rains until August 10 in several areas, especially near the eastern coast,” he added.

North Korea may have to face a food shortage of 860,000 tons this year, according to a forecast issued by the United Nations food agency (FAO) in July. The agency warned of “a difficult lean period between August and October”.

The North Korean regime, under international sanctions for its banned military programmes, has struggled to feed its people and regularly suffers from food shortages.

The pressure on the North Korean economy has increased due to the orderly closing of the borders to combat the coronavirus pandemic and series of storms and floods in 2020.

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North Korea experienced a severe famine in the 1990s that left hundreds of thousands dead as aid to Moscow was cut off after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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