North Korea suffered the worst natural disasters in Asia in 2019, a new report shows. The Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) stated that 4 out of 10 North Koreans were affected by disasters during that year, which was the worst ratio in all of the continent.
In total, 10.1 million North Koreans were affected by natural disasters in 2019-- the second-highest raw population number, next to India, where there are nearly 53 times more people.
The report noted that a single 2019 storm in North Korea, Typhoon Lingling, left five fatalities, 27 801 people affected, and caused about 24 million dollars in damages.
Natural disasters impact the country's ability to grow food for its largely malnourished population, in general.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) projected that the 2019 drought solely almost cut North Korea's crop yield in half.
"It’s really incredible," said Peter Ward, a researcher on the North Korean economy and politics. "Given that North Korea claimed that they had a record-high harvest that year, it’s rather interesting."
"The mining sector is affected by flooding in particular. It can cause problems with not only mines but also distribution and transport too," Woo added.
While the new report only measured the impact of 2019 disasters, some experts believe that figures in 2020 could be worse.
"Kim Jong Un at the Eighth Party Congress noted not only international sanctions against North Korea and COVID-19 but also natural disasters as the reason why the country’s previous five-year economic development goals were underachieved," said Cheong Seong-Chang, a fellow at Wilson Center. "It has been an ongoing problem in recent years."
Featured image credit: ARIRANG NEWS