North Korea issues ‘extremely cold’ weather warning

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Winter in Hyesan in Ryanggang province in North Korea

North Korean authorities have warned of extreme weather conditions in the country as a cold front moves across the Korean peninsula.

Temperatures are likely to drop below -30C in the northern regions, which are also the poorest part of the country, the state radio station said.

According to state media, strong winds are also expected in coastal areas.

South Korea has also issued a cold warning and northern China is experiencing record low temperatures.

Temperatures in Japan are also expected to fall to their lowest levels in a decade this week.

While North Korea has been affected by extreme or adverse weather conditions similar to other places, little is known about the impact on its population.

Ryanggang, North Hamgyong and South Hamgyong, the country’s poorest provinces and those predicted to be most vulnerable to climate shocks, are all located in the north.

Electricity is not common outside the capital, Pyongyang, and households in those places reportedly burn wood and dried plants for heating in winter, NK News reported. He also says that many just use plastic wrap around their doors and windows for insulation.

Radio Free Asia reported in December that “large numbers” of people in the country went missing during another extreme cold spell late last year – many said they either starved to death or froze to death as the mercury dropped. below freezing and food became scarce.

Food insecurity in North Korea is projected to be at its worst since the widespread famine of the 1990s, according to Lucas Rengifo-Keller, a research analyst at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in -United States.

In 2019, North Korea said it was suffering from its worst drought in nearly four decades. This after the United Nations declared that up to 10 million North Koreans were “in urgent need of food aid” and reported that people were surviving on just 300g (10.5 ounces) of food a day this year.

In 2020, North Korea was hit by five major typhoons, causing severe structural damage to buildings, roads, factories and water systems and displacing thousands of citizens.

Scientists say extreme weather, including cold spells, is becoming more common due to climate change.

Tuesday’s cold wave warnings come as Pyongyang prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army next week.

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