Tens of thousands of survivors in North Korea are still in need of assistance after a series of floods that the local media is calling as the worst flooding in the country’s has devastated the area, but South Korea does not intend to help.
The South Korean government has reiterated its stance that it has no plans of providing humanitarian aid to North Korea, even if it asked for help, New York Times reported. The unfortunate disaster hit the poorest region in the country, near North Korea’s border with China.
State media agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that soldiers and workers have been conducting relief efforts in ravaged areas. The United Nations World Food Program has also provided assistance and has sought for international donations.
Kim Jong-un has reportedly stayed in Pyongyang and kept his distance from the northern region, despite the alarming number of people affected by the disaster.
Aid organisations estimate a total of 138 people killed, 400 missing and 100,000 displaced in North Hamgyong Province.
Roads, facilities and around 30,000 homes have reportedly been destroyed, leaving 104,000 North Koreans with no access to safe drinking water.
The South Korean government reaffirmed its stance after the North’s fifth nuclear test. “North Korea has not asked for help, and we don’t expect it to,” Jeong Joon-hee, a spokesman for the South’s Unification Ministry was quoted as saying. “Even if it does, I think, given the present situation, that the possibility of providing aid is low.”
He also pointed out that if the South did send out aid, “Kim Jong-Un would take all undue credit for it,” Jeong said. “Under these circumstances, I cannot shed the feeling that outside aid would be all in vain.”
Jeong pointed out on Monday how North Korea’s costly nuclear tests served to misdirect funds that could be used to help the North Korean people, especially those who were suffering from the floods. The following day, North Korea claimed it had conducted a successful test, this time of a new long-range rocket engine.
Despite Kim Jong Un’s apparent reckless behavior, citizens in the South still have a much softer stance and have even called for its government to send humanitarian aid.