Kim Jong-un orders military help as torrential rain hits North Korea amid food shortage

The floods come after the dictator said the country faced a ‘tense’ food crisis

Lamiat Sabin
Sunday 08 August 2021 18:13 BST
Footage reveals homes and roads destroyed in North Korea flooding

Kim Jong-un has called on the military to undertake relief work in regions of North Korea decimated by flooding that is expected to continue into next week.

More than 1,000 homes were damaged and about 5,000 people were evacuated after torrential rain hit and caused river banks to collapse. No casualties or deaths have been reported by the insular country’s state-run media.

Homes were submerged with flood water up to their roofs, and hundreds of hectares of farmland were damaged, according to news agency AFP referring to footage from North Korea’s state-run KCTV.

About 10 miles of roads and bridges were also damaged in the flood-damaged eastern province of South Hamgyong.

Heavy rain is forecast by North Korean meteorological agency to fall until 10 August.

On Thursday, the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission held a meeting to discuss recovery efforts, the state-run news agency KCNA reported this weekend.

Mr Kim did not attend the meeting, but he has ordered the army to distribute necessary supplies in the region and help “minimise the damage to crops”, KCNA said.

The news agency added: “The meeting called on all the Party organisations, people and service personnel in the province to turn out in the recovery from damage, with strong confidence that we will surely win if we display to the full the might of the single-minded unity, the army-people unity around the Party Central Committee – whatever the wildness of the nature and the manifold challenges and trials.”

In June, Mr Kim had admitted that the country faced a “tense” food situation after the agricultural sector had failed to meet grain targets due to flooding last year caused by typhoons.

The dictator has also said that North Korea had faced the “worse-ever” economic crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the country being under US-led international sanctions over its nuclear programme.

Kim Jong Un has reportedly dipped into the army’s rice reserves to meet citizens’ food needs

North Korean trade with China has also plummeted due to Mr Kim closing the borders to halt the spread of Covid-19.

It was reported earlier this week that heatwaves could also be impacting the growth of crops.

The spy agency of South Korea said that North Korea has dipped into its military rice reserves to tackle the food crisis.

The national intelligence service (NIS) of South Korea had reportedly told a closed-door parliamentary committee meeting that its neighbour was distributing rice, that was reserved for wartime, to citizens left with little food.

North Korea suffered from a nationwide famine in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union left it without crucial aid.

The total number of people who starved to death at the time is not known, but estimates range up to three million.

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