NATIONAL

N. Korean trains virtually out of service due to power shortage: report

By 임정요
  • Published : Nov 20, 2016 - 13:18
  • Updated : Nov 20, 2016 - 13:18

North Korean train service has virtually come to a stop due to a nationwide power shortage, a US-based media outlet said Sunday.

The train from the border city of Hyesan now takes 10 days or longer to get to Pyongyang, US radio broadcaster Radio Free Asia reported, citing Japanese media outlet Asia Press.

"Before (the power shortage,) the Hyesan-Pyongyang route took about 24 hours. Now nobody wants to ride on that train," a source in Hyesan told the Asia Press.

Similarly, a source in Musan, North Hamgyong Province, told the Japanese media company, "Since the power supply worsened in mid-October, I haven't seen a train in operation," adding that the Musan-Pyongyang route takes at least 10 days as well.

The power supply situation in North Korea has become so bad that, according to the report, the residents in downtown Hyesan are supplied power for only two to three hours a day. Moreover, the residents in ordinary households cannot use electricity due to excessively low voltage.

"The train situation has reached a new low since Kim Jong-un took power," Jiro Ishimaru, who heads the Osaka office of Asia Press, told the RFA.

He pointed out that North Korea's electricity comes from hydropower, but because of the dry autumn weather and expected icy winter season, the generation capability is expected to get worse, likely meaning the plight of ordinary North Korean people will worsen. (Yonhap)