N.Korea draws up guidelines for emergency health crisis, natural disasters

North Korea has come up with new guidelines on how to cope with the country’s emergency health crisis and natural disasters at a key parliamentary meeting, its state media said on Friday.

The plenary meeting of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), held in Pyongyang on Thursday, adopted the law on emergency response, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The law provides instructions on “setting up the regular unified direction” on swiftly coping with emergency crises in areas such as health and natural disasters, ensuring the procurement of reserve materials, and providing the labour force and materials needed in the emergency anti-epidemic and disaster control field, Yonhap News Agency quoted the KCNA as saying.

In recent years, North Korea has suffered from heavy downpours that could deal a serious blow to its agricultural output as the impoverished nation is apparently vulnerable to flooding due to poor irrigation and deforestation.

Pyongyang has also recently stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of infections since the outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The North reported its first Covid-19 case in May and “declared victory” against the crisis in August.

The SPA meeting adopted another law on procurement to “contribute to fully meeting the demand for procured goods in the sector of the national economy and improving the standard of people’s living by setting up the strict system and order in procurement”, the KCNA said.

The KCNA did not provide further details on the type of “procured goods,” but observers say it could be referring to grains as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for an increase in the state procurement levels in agriculture at a party congress meeting last year.

During the meeting, the North also adopted laws on the protection of new strains of plants and on the management of breeding livestock.

The SPA is the highest organ of power under the North’s constitution, although it rubber-stamps decisions by the ruling party.

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