Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The unprecedented heat wave that plagued the Korean Peninsula took a heavy toll on ordinary North Koreans, according to a South Korean press report.
Sources in North Korea who spoke on the condition of anonymity told South Korean news service Daily NK 39 people died in late July in the city of Pyongsong.
The cause was heat stroke, according to the report.
Casualties of extremely hot weather began to rise following orders from North Korean authorities to ordinary citizens to "mobilize" to fight drought.
In early August, the Rodong Sinmun stated the government had declared a state of emergency because of unusually hot weather, and the country had ordered the mobilization of all capabilities to prevent damage of crops and other harmful effects of drought.
"All capabilities must be focused in a total struggle against high temperatures and drought," the newspaper had stated.
A source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK on Sunday the authorities "pushed people into the fields" so they could begin watering the crops.
"People who had not enough to eat or rested properly, then [ordered] to work in the fields, could not bear the strain and collapsed," the source said, according to the report.
The heat wave appears to be subsiding in the region.
News 1 reported Monday South Korea's weather agency had lifted a heat wave warning on Aug. 18.
Hot weather may resume again in the middle of the week, however, according to the report.