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Losses soar from continued heat wave

Damages related to agriculture, livestock and people’s health have been on the rise as South Korea has been experiencing abnormally hot weather since July.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 1,000 patients were diagnosed with heatstroke since May, surpassing the total figure recorded in 2014.

Local insurance company NongHyup Property & Casualty Insurance said that it saw the highest number of reports on livestock casualties this year, since it started compensation for such damages in 2012.
A farmer looks at apples damaged from being exposed to the strong sunlight in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, Wednesday. (Yonhap)
A farmer looks at apples damaged from being exposed to the strong sunlight in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, Wednesday. (Yonhap)
As of Monday, 2.74 million chickens, pigs, cows and other livestock died from the heat in the past month. Industry insiders predict the number will rise to 3 million.

Lack of precipitation and the high temperatures at night also damaged crops.

In Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, where there are large-scale fruit gardens, the amount of harvest went down by around 4 to 8 percentage points within a month, compared to last year, local residents said.

Farmers also said that fruits and farm produce are losing value as they now have dried leaves and darker colors due to the strong sunlight and tropical nights.

Meanwhile, experts warned of foreign wasps that have been reproducing here amid the country’s subtropical weather.

Polistes Japonicas, a type of wasp originating from Southeast Asia’s subtropical regions was first found in Busan in 2003. They mostly entered the country by being carried on flights or in air freights. They are twice as big as normal bees and feed on insects.

Polistes Japonicas are 40 times more aggressive than local bees. To avoid attracting them, experts said to avoid using strong perfume and wear dark colored clothes.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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