Aug. 6 (UPI) -- A record-setting heat wave in North Korea has inflicted serious damage on crops, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Monday.
At least two regions in North Korea, South Pyongan and South Hamgyong Provinces, have declared a state of emergency, the IFRC said, relaying a statement from the Red Cross office in Pyongyang, according to South Korean service Seoul Pyongyang News.
The heat wave that continues to roll over the peninsula began on July 11 and is expected to continue through mid-August.
High temperatures have forced North Koreans to change the way their markets operate, according to the report.
In order to minimize the risks of heatstroke, North Korea's markets have begun to open at 6 p.m., rather than at 2 p.m.
The IFRC also said there have been heatstroke casualties among children and North Korea's elderly population, but the exact number of victims was not reported.
The North Korean Red Cross plans to deploy mobile water pumps to affected regions, and Pyongyang's committee on national emergencies is "discussing ways to provide relief," the organization said.
Yonhap reported Monday the North Korean Red Cross initially reported damage to 62 hectares of cornfields and 56 hectares of rice paddies in South Hamgyong Province.
Two counties in South Pyongan Province reported destruction to 206 hectares of cornfields.
Corn is a major source of food in North Korea.
North Korea's state media reported on the drought last week, and on Thursday KCTV showed North Koreans watering bone-dry cornfields.
"A huge setback is emerging in many parts of the people's economy, due to damage in the cornfields and rice paddies of North and South Hwanghae Provinces," KCTV stated on Thursday.