North Korea’s heatwave described as unprecedented natural disaster

The North Korean government has called on its people to wage an ‘all-out battle’ against a record heatwave as the country’s already fragile crops face drought and the authorities struggle to respond. The heatwave is expected to last throughout August.

Temperatures have reached more than 40 °C (104 °F) in some regions since late July and there have been sporadic reports of deaths.

“This high-temperature phenomenon is the largest, unprecedented natural disaster, but not an obstacle we cannot overcome,” reports the Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

Rural areas across the country are already reporting damages to crops, including rice and corn, prompting the government to urge the people to join the struggle to prevent the weather from further hampering food production.

At least 29 people have died due to heatstroke in neighboring South Korea and more than 2 200 suffered heat-related conditions over the past two weeks. Authorities reported more than 3 million deaths of livestock, while vegetable prices doubled due to supplies being affected.

The Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA) said the country is undergoing an extended heatwave, with at least 15 days of temperatures over 35 °C (95 °F).

Capital Seoul recorded 39.6 °C (103.2 °F) on Wednesday, August 1, 2018, making it the hottest day the city has seen in 111 years. The town of Hongcheon, in the northeastern province of Gangwon, recorded a record high of 41 °C (105.8 °F) on the same day, the highest temperature in South Korea since records began in 1904.

By August 5, 60% of the country recorded the hottest weather in the country’s modern history.

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Featured image credit: NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP/VIIRS. Acquired July 31, 2018 

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