It’s been a century since it’s been this dry on the Korean peninsula.
Everyone who lives in Korea typically looks ahead with some degree of dread to the rainy season. Normally, this is around June or July. It rains, and rains, and rains, day after day, while everyone is forced to wear flip flops and carry beach-sized umbrellas to try to arrive at work with a relative degree of dryness. It’s not the most enjoyable time of the year.
But even though we’re halfway there, there hasn’t been any rain to speak of. Sprinkles on one or two days, but not rain. Last year, half the city flooded in an abnormally long and precipitous season, and the Gangnam district of Seoul came dangerously close to being renamed Atlantis.
Turns out this is the worst drought in a century in Korea, which is absolutely terrible for agriculture, and even more critical in North Korea, which suffers from a general food shortage as it is.
From the Toronto Sun:
North Korea dispatched soldiers to pour buckets of water on parched fields and South Korean officials scrambled to save a rare mollusk threatened by the heat as the worst dry spell in a century gripped the Korean peninsula.
Parts of North Korea are experiencing the most severe drought since record keeping began nearly 105 years ago, meteorological officials in Pyongyang and Seoul said Tuesday.
The protracted drought is heightening worries about North Korea’s ability to feed its people. Two-thirds of North Korea’s 24 million people faced chronic food shortages, the United Nations said earlier this month while asking donors for $198 million in humanitarian aid for the country.
Thankfully, the Chosun Ilbo is predicting the start of the rainy season this Saturday:
Monsoon rains will relieve the drought across the country this weekend as a seasonal rain front moves north to the central part of the country, the Korea Meteorological Administration forecast.
The heat wave is expected to continue until the weekend with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius in the central part.