The bad news continues for citizens of North Korea. After facing one of the worst droughts in recent history this summer, the North now has its hands full with severe floods. According to an official release by KCNA, the DPRK’s official state news organization, the floods have killed approximately 170 people, injured 144, and left 400 more missing. In addition, KCNA reports that around 212,200 people are homeless as a result, most likely in the more rural provinces northeast of the well-manicured capital of Pyongyang. (Although, if past reports of national emergencies by the DPRK are any indication, these numbers could, in fact, be significantly higher.)
One of the biggest concerns is the effect this could have on North Korea’s already starving population. If the KCNA reports are accurate, the torrential downpours have left over 160,000 acres of farmland completely submerged and have damaged a number of healthcare and factory buildings. According to CNN, U.N. reports also indicate that damage to wells have left some 50,000 people without access to clean drinking water. In a country that has been struggling to feed its own citizens for decades — due to economic mismanagement, stubborn ideology, and aggressive military developments deterred foreign aid — the floods will hurt that much more.
Despite current U.N. sanctions on the DPRK (following the missile testing in April), the World Food Programme (WFP) agreed earlier this week to send emergency food aid to the most affected areas after the U.N. officially declared a state of emergency in North Korea on August 2. According to a report in The Guardian, the WFP aid will “provide the flood victims ‘with an initial ration of 400g of maize per day for 14 days.'”
Although the floundering DPRK will gladly take all the aid it can get, the recent natural disasters continue to fuel speculations of whether or not the Kim dynasty will finally collapse under its own chronic food shortages.