North Korea is on the verge of a catastrophic meltdown according to according to reports reaching Open Doors from North Korean Christians.
“North Korea faces a major crisis with multiple causes,” say Timothy Cho, North Korean escapee. “Covid-19 lockdown, catastrophic flooding and international sanctions.”
Although the North Korean Government has claimed that they have no cases of Covid-19, the infection rate is now thought to run to the tens of thousands, and th population are badly prepared for it.
“It’s known by North Koreans as ‘the ghost disease,’” says Brother Simon, Open Doors ministry coordinator for the country. “People can be sick without knowing it. They are usually malnourished already. Then suddenly they die quickly. Some even just fall dead on the ground.”
The North Korean government has tried to contain the infection rate by closing the borders. However, according to Timothy, this been counterproductive:
“The authorities have already sent more soldiers to the border areas. However, as a result the black-market economy has collapsed and there are chronic food and medical shortages.”
Simon adds “We are hearing that many marketplaces are closed down. Even if they are open, there’s little food you can buy. It will cost you two months’ salary to buy a kilo of rice.”
According to Timothy serious flooding and mudslides has further compounded the situation.
However, he says, North Korean officials aren’t willing to allow this help into the country: “The UN insists they’re ready to provide prompt. But North Korea is not willing to let UN representatives have free access to the country in exchange for aid – there are too many human rights abuses that would be exposed. For the same reason, they aren’t willing to take any further steps towards nuclear demilitarization to get international sanctions lifted.”
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SOURCE: Assist News Service