June 16 (UPI) -- Electricity supplied to North Korea from the South has been suspended since the detonation of the Inter-Korean Liaison Office in Kaesong, Seoul confirmed Tuesday.
South Korea's unification ministry said the power supply was cut at 3:40 p.m. following the demolition of the building about 2:50 p.m., Yonhap reported.
Even before establishing the office in September 2018, the South was responsible for supplying electricity to the building. North Korea has faced chronic power shortages for decades.
South Korea initially explored ways to generate power locally, but decided the option was too expensive. Stockpiling fuel in North Korea was also deemed too controversial, according to Yonhap.
South Korea has previously supplied power to the North, at the shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex, a jointly operated factory park that was closed in February 2016. Seoul at the time pulled out of Kaesong, citing North Korea sanctions violations.
North Korea's detonation of the office on Tuesday forced the evacuation of South Korean residents in some of the border villages.
At Daeseong-dong "Freedom Village," residents reported hearing multiple explosions. Windows in South Korean homes were reportedly shaking in the aftermath of the detonation, local television network JTBC said Tuesday.
At about 3 p.m., classrooms of students and teaching staff were evacuated. Local authorities also banned outdoor activities, implementing a curfew beginning at 4 p.m., local time.
North Korean senior official Kim Yo Jong had threatened action for days, while blaming North Korean defectors in the South, and their distribution of leaflets, for rising tensions. South Korea responded last week with a ban on leaflets, a move that drew condemnation from anti-Pyongyang activists.
North Korea called for the withdrawal of South Korean personnel on Jan. 30, following a declaration of national emergency in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The two Koreas maintained phone calls twice a day since the withdrawal. The calls came to an end this month in the wake of Pyongyang's latest threats.