1. COVID explodes in No. 2 North Korea and slows hidden deliveries
North Korea continues to be a place of severe persecution: Any Christian found out in North Korea immediately risks imprisonment, brutal torture and/or death. An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in North Korea’s notorious system of prisons and labor camps. And so far this year, things have only gotten worse for Christians.
COVID has exploded in North Korea—officials have shared publicly that the COVID pandemic has reached their people. The admission likely comes after two years of reports that North Koreans are dying from the “ghost disease” (a term used by North Koreans to describe COVID). Because North Korea’s government strives to maintain a façade of superiority and only makes public announcements when the situation is desperate, it’s widely believed that the pandemic is now ravaging the country.
With North Korea in severe lockdown, our field workers are doing everything they can to help underground believers through this crisis. We’ve heard word that North Koreans are paying several months’ salary for a single bag of rice. Despite travel regulation and surveillance, which makes it nearly impossible to get food, clothing, medicine and other necessities to believers, field workers are planning tirelessly to get all they can to underground believers who make it to our networks in China.
The explosion of COVID is acting as a roadblock for those who need the deliveries most.