For John, BLUF: The global heat wave seems to have impacted North Korea particularly hard. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From the Daily NK, by Reporter Kim Yoo Jin, 8 August 2018.
Here is the lede plus three:
As North Korea continues to reel from an unprecedented heat wave, the authorities are conducting a nationwide assessment of the damage that has been inflicted on crops as well as on-site farm visits, report sources in the country.Will this remind the North Koreans of the North Korean famine, which occurred in North Korea from 1994 to 1998?
"The temperature has risen daily and there's no rain, so crops all over the country are drying out," said a North Hamgyong Province-based source on August 6. "The authorities are investigating the damage done to the agricultural fields."
The source said that the authorities have sent investigative teams to farms throughout the country who are taking photos of the damage and sending them back to central headquarters.
The roots of the corn crops have yellowed because they have dried out from the lack of rain. North Koreans consider the agricultural season to be "finished" this year. Farmers have suffered from both the double impact of intense heat and drought.
The first question, of course, is how do we prevent another famine, given the last one killed hundreds of thousands? Here is Wikipedia's view:
Out of a total population of approximately 22 million, somewhere between 240,000 and 3,500,000 North Koreans died from starvation or hunger-related illnesses, with the deaths peaking in 1997. A 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report put the likely number of excess deaths during 1993 to 2000 at from 500,000 to 600,000.The second question is how do we prevent a breakdown that results in a massive refugee exodus into Russia and China, which will be resisted by both?
The third question is how does the United States properly leverage this situation in a way that helps Chairman Kim Jung-un step back from his nuclear ambitions?
Regards — Cliff