(Photo) Many provincial cities are paralyzed due to deteriorating power conditions. Photographed is a young girl mobilized to draw water. Photograph taken in South Hwanghae Province in October 2008 by SHIM Euicheon (ASIAPRESS)

◆ Machine parts no longer imported from China?

From around May, the lives of North Korean urban residents have been disrupted by a deterioration in the power supply and paralyzed water supply. These reports came from two cities in the northern region of the country.

On August 12, a reporting partner from Hyesan, Ryanggang Province, close to the Chinese border, reported the current situation as follows:

"Even in the central area of the city, electricity is only available for about two hours a day. The officials explain that 'we are concentrating electricity in important nearby facilities' but, according to a worker in the distribution department, it is due to trade with China stopping due to coronavirus. The power plant's equipment often breaks down and the parts cannot be replaced, so electricity production has declined.”

Even in Musan County, North Hamkyung Province, the electricity supply to residential districts is worsening. Musan County has the most productive iron mine in North Korea so electricity is usually supplied to the area as a priority. As a result, residential districts around the iron mine also benefited by receiving more electricity than other regional cities.

On August 11, another reporting partner living in Musan County reported the following:

“Most iron production has been suspended since exports to China were stopped due to sanctions, but electricity is being supplied for about 18 hours a day with instructions to 'operate through self-reliance.' Residential districts, on the other hand, are receiving only two to five hours of electricity per day. In addition, water pumps are not working, so apartments are only being supplied water for 30 minutes to 2 hours a day."
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