North Korea discovered that one of the problems with spending most of your impoverished Communist dungeon state’s GDP on military hardware is that you don’t have much left over to handle emergencies, such as a flood that leaves 100,000 people homeless.
After weeks of belligerently threatening nuclear annihilation against the civilized world, Pyongyang found itself in what the Washington Post terms, “the inconvenient position of having to turn to the international community for help,” because last month’s floods from Typhoon Lionrock were much more damaging than originally believed.
“North Korean authorities at first estimated that 44,000 people had been displaced between Onsong, in the north, and Musan, a major mining center 100 miles downriver,” the WaPo writes. The number of people in need of urgent assistance now stands at 140,000, with another 600,000 lacking a ready supply of potable water. Houses were destroyed, livestock wiped out, and lines of communication cut.
“North Korea is particularly prone to flooding because of deforestation — a result of people cutting down trees to fuel fires in their homes — and a tendency to turn every inch of arable land over to crops. Making matters worse, houses, particularly in the downtrodden northern areas, are often made of substandard, locally produced bricks,” the Washington Post observes.
North Korea is, therefore, planning to make international appeals for donations to buttress the efforts of relief agencies already working in the country, right after they defied international law to detonate their fifth nuclear test, putting them closer to the supreme global crime of mounting nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A humanitarian crisis due to flooding might be just the thing North Korea needs to hold stronger sanctions at bay since observers have already suggested the impoverished North Korean populace could be devastated by tougher measures.
The United States sent a message to Pyongyang by flying two B-1 bombers over South Korea on Tuesday, even as U.S. envoy Sung Kim declared America’s intention to “secure the strongest possible resolution that includes new sanctions as quickly as possible” from the U.N. Security Council.
Kim also said the U.S. would work with China to close loopholes in existing resolutions, according to Reuters. While China might be willing to work on those loopholes, it is resistant to further sanctions against North Korea, as is Russia.
North Korean media claimed public anger was “exploding like a volcano” after the American bomber flight.
“Any sanction, provocation and pressure cannot ruin our status as a nuclear state and evil political and military provocations will only result in a flood of reckless nuclear attacks that will bring a final destruction,” editorialized the KCNA news service.
On Wednesday, KCNA declared the United States is “bluffing that B-1Bs are enough for fighting an all-out nuclear war.”
“The US imperialists keep letting their nuclear strategic bombers fly over South Korea in a bid to seek an opportunity of mounting a preemptive nuclear attack… They had better stop their rash actions,” KCNA added, the volume of their scorn making it momentarily difficult to hear the regime in Pyongyang beg the world for food.