The North Korean soldier who defected earlier this month paints a grim picture of living under Kim Jong Un’s rule.
The unidentified soldier drove a jeep across the DMZ, was shot at least five times, and was helped to a hospital by South Korean soldiers.
The medical team behind the soldier’s recovery found parasites in his intestines, one as long as 27cm.
“I spent more than 20 years of experience as a surgeon, but I have never seen parasites this big in the intestines of South Koreans.”
— Lee Cook Jong, surgeon
The parasites found in the defector’s body shows just how serious North Korea’s humanitarian crisis is, especially in food quality.
It’s a well-known fact that North Korea, that spends 22% of its GDP on its military, suffers from a nationwide food shortage — the U.N. has reported that 2 out of 5 North Koreans are undernourished.
And when North Koreans have access to food, it’s not always a safe bet.
The food is often grown with human feces as fertilizers, which likely carries and spreads parasites.
According to BBC, a 2014 study of 17 female detectors from North Korea showed that 7 of them were infected with parasites.
Even a soldier at the front lines, the country’s foremost concern, is also suffering from infections and malnutrition.
Frontline soldiers get much better treatment than civilians, so the health concerns of the regular civilians seems undoubtedly a nightmare.
After two surgeries, the unidentified soldier is now conscious but still too weak to provide further details on his defection.
The defecting soldier will be questioned once he recovers his health.
Source: Chosun Biz