Statistics from the DPRK Health Department suggest a worrisome outbreak of potentially lethal influenza strains and even at that, numbers may be understated. Unknown numbers of civilians are unable to attend a doctor or health care unit. The DPRK has been reticent to show the impact of global sanctions and naval blockades against incoming and out going goods.
1 December 2017 to 16 January 2018
The numbers we have indicate a total of 126,574 influenza like illness (ILI) cases for the period from 1 December 2017 to 16 January 2018. Of those, 81,640 cases were positive for influenza A/H1N1pdm 09.
1 December 2017 to 23 January 2018
For the period 1 December 2017 to 23 January 2018, there were 178,259 influenza like illness (ILI) of which 110,015 cases were positive for influenza A/H1N1pdm 09.
This is an aggressive viral epidemic which has presented over a period beyond one month and continues to spread across the country in a widespread pattern.
Droughts and floods, earthquakes and storms are common challenges in the DPRK. The people are hardy and resourceful, able to survive occasional challenges.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously passed eight sanctions resolutions against Pyongyang since 2006, the year North Korea first tested a nuclear device, something the nuclear weapons equipped states of the UNSC seeks to forbid other countries from doing.
The United Nations does not have enforcement tools to impose these sanctions but the United States uses economic blackmail and both threats and inducements to cajole other countries to adhere to sanction rules. Several nations besides the USA have added bilateral sanctions against the DPRK and are effectively mounting a naval blockade wherein ships carrying goods from or to the DPRK are intercepted and disdrained.
The net effect of all these sanctions is that ordinary civilian workers, fishermen and tradespeople in the DPRK have lost their jobs; have no income; and subsist on the equivalent of 1.5 cups of cooked rice per day.
Infants and the elderly plus those persons challenged with chronic illness are dying from malnutrition.
Chronic and acute illness is at this point in time a death sentence for most civilians because even Great Britain has banned all humanitarian assistance to the DPRK. There is no medicine.
While the United States amasses troops, war machines and nuclear weapons in the Pacific readying to attack the DPRK, 16 Million people north of the 39th parallel on the Korean Peninsula are at risk of imminent death from malnutrition and spreading disease.