With Sweltering Heat But Little AC, North Korea Proclaims 'An Unprecedented Natural Disaster'

The North Korean government called a record high in temperatures for the country, stating that everyone in the country was pitching in to fight their current situation, which they've called an "unprecedented natural disaster." Global temperatures are usually high in recent weeks; the effects of these temperatures have been particularly dangerous for North Korea, reports the Washington Post, due to the country's strict sanctions to their economy. These sanctions have made it so that air conditioning is a rarity for everyday citizens.

Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the country's ruling party, published an editorial on Thursday, remarking on the highlighted difficulties that the long stretch of high temperature could potentially cause to the North Korean agricultural sector. They noted that crops such as rice and maize were specifically at risk. Calling for North Koreans to act as one and "display their patriotic zeal in the ongoing campaign for preventing damage by high temperature," the article was followed up by other news outlets in support of the newspaper's statements.

Friday, the official Korea Central News Agency came forward, reporting that high temperatures have reached an alarming 40 degrees Celsius, which equates to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The entire country is apparently now working on a campaign that hopes to prevent any further damage to crops. North Korea's media continues to focus on the potential effects related to agriculture.

Seoul-based and independent publications such as DailyNK, however, are pointing out an equally important issue that is being caused by the heat wave. Such high temperatures are taking what is being referred to as "a deadly toll" to North Koreans in general, as the people are suffering since air conditioning is so rare inside the country. The DailyNK report came out on Thursday, where it was also stated that part of the reason air conditioning in North Korea is so rare is due to the inconsistency in the country's electrical network. An unnamed source in the Seoul-based news report was quoted discussing the health effects of North Korea's current circumstance.

"North Koreans with weak immune systems are collapsing due to the heat."
Air conditioning has become commonplace, if not even expected by those inside the United States, yet certain areas outside of the U.S. consider AC a luxury. For instance, Japan and South Korea use air conditioning and certain other cooling technologies; however, it is not nearly as common as it is here in the U.S., which leaves elderly individuals, the poor, and those with weaker immune systems in a potential struggle with heat, cites the Washington Post.