Korean authorities have warned of extreme weather conditions across the korean peninsula as a cold wave sweeps the region. south korea and northern china have also issued warnings of record low temperatures, while japan is expected to experience its lowest temperatures in a decade this week. in north korea, the provinces of ryanggang, north hamgyong and south hamgyong, which are the poorest and most vulnerable to climate shocks, are located in the north and are expected to be the most affected.
Cold wave alerts were issued on tuesday, as pyongyang prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the korean people’s army next week. many north koreans are thought to have either starved or frozen to death during the cold spell, and food insecurity in the country is reportedly at its worst since the 1990s. in 2019, north korea said it was suffering its worst drought in nearly four decades, and in 2020, the country was struck by five major typhoons, which caused major structural damage and displaced thousands of citizens.
Extreme weather conditions are believed to be a result of climate change, and many households in north korea use plastic wrap around their doors and windows for insulation. electricity is uncommon outside the capital pyongyang, and households in these places reportedly burn wood and dried plants for warmth during the winter. radio free asia reported in december that “large numbers” of people in the country had gone missing late last year during another extremely cold spell.