Authorities in North Korea have issued warnings about severe weather as a cold wave sweeps the Korean peninsula.
The poorest region of the country, the northern regions, are expected to experience temperatures below -30C, according to the state radio broadcaster.
High winds are also anticipated for coastal areas, according to state media.
Additionally, a cold wave warning has been issued for South Korea, and record-low temperatures have been recorded in northern China.
Temperatures are also expected to drop to their lowest in a decade in Japan this week.
While North Korea has been affected by extreme or adverse weather much like other places, little is known about the impact of this on its people.
Ryanggang, North Hamgyong and South Hamgyong, the country’s poorest provinces and those expected to be most vulnerable to climate shocks, are all located in the north.
Electricity is uncommon outside the capital Pyongyang, and households in these places reportedly burn wood, and dried plants for warmth during the winter, NK News has reported. It also says many merely use plastic wrap around their doors and windows for insulation.
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 – many are thought to have either starved or frozen to death, as the mercury dipped below freezing and food became scarce.
Food insecurity in North Korea is said to be at its worst since a widespread famine in the 1990s, according to Lucas Rengifo-Keller, a research analyst at Peterson Institute for International Economics in the US.
In 2019, North Korea said it was suffering its worst drought in nearly four decades. This comes after the UN said that up to 10 million North Koreans were “in urgent need of food assistance,” reporting that the people had been surviving on just 300 g (10.5 oz) of food a day that year.
In 2020, North Korea was struck by five major typhoons, which caused major structural damage to buildings, roads, factories and water systems and displaced thousands of citizens.
Scientists say extreme weather, including cold waves, is becoming more common because of climate change.
Tuesday’s cold wave alerts come as Pyongyang prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army next week.