May 31, 2023

Climate change threatens millions of North Koreans. Is Pyongyang doing enough?

Ongoing food insecurity shows DPRK’s vulnerability to global warming, amid doubts about its commitment to climate action

The summer downpour began after a month of drought. Rivers became swollen with muddy waters that pushed up against their banks and finally overflowed. The floodwaters surged into the hinterlands, wiping out roads and railways and bridges, inundating farmland and submerging homes, or in some cases washing them away entirely. Landslides brought mountains tumbling down with terrible force.

The flooding that hit North Korea in early Aug. 2021 marked the second straight year that torrential rains wreaked havoc on the country and its people — displacing 5,000 by North Korea’s own account and likely contributing to the food insecurity issues that appear to be driving its emphasis on agriculture this year.