Thursday, August 03, 2006

N. Korea in crisis again

(special contributor: Mildred)

While they've been firing off rockets as a snub to the US, they were suffering from terrible flooding which killed as many as 10,000 citizens.

SEOUL: North Korea may have suffered catastrophic damage, including an estimated 10,000 people dead or missing, from floods last month, a South Korean relief group said Wednesday. Pyongyang has rejected offers of help from outside aid agencies, aid officials said.

North Korea's government, which has been hampered by damage to the country's road and railway networks and by dwindling financial resources, is poorly equipped to deal with the crisis, which has left an estimated 1.3 million to 1.5 million homeless, according to Good Friends, a Buddhist relief group based in Seoul.

Of course we don't know the exact numbers because N. Korea refuses to let humanitarian organizations come to its rescue. While there's certainly constistency in their habit of not letting people in, perhaps sometimes pride should take a back seat when it's possible a million or more of your people may die (note: N. Korea is not as prosperous or as populous as S. Korea. They have around 20 million citizens).

What caused the floods? Bad environmental management, that's what:

Chronic fuel shortages have driven North Koreans to denude hills for firewood, leaving the country extremely vulnerable to floods.

Big surprise. It's no wonder they want nuclear power so bad; if people could rely on their electric ovens and water heaters, they might not have to burn up all the wood in the country.

N. Koreans won't accept our aid because they fear it will mean accepting our sanctions as well. But despite the terrible situationt they're in, they can't help but yank the chain of anyone near them:

Koreas Exchange Gunshots On Border

Soldiers from North Korea and South Korea exchanged fire along their border overnight, but no one was hurt, a South Korean military official said Tuesday.

I just wish we could afford to ignore these bozos. But we can't, and yet we don't have any leverage with which to push them anymore either (for which we have President Bush to thank). So they get to keep building rockets and thousands of their people die because they can't respond even as well as we did in Katrina. Whoopee.

1 comment:

Xanthippas said...

Honestly, I can't think of a truly meaningful way to engage the North Koreans. They're suspicious of everything we do, and tie strings even to humanitarian we're giving them. There's no question that North Korea is one of the worst tyrannies on the planet, and a humanitarian disaster waiting to happen. Eventually it's something we're going to have to deal with, missile shield or no.