North Korea’s nuclear test site in Kilju, North Hamgyong Province is turning into a wasteland after six underground nuclear tests, according to witness accounts.
North Koreans who defected from the region said 80 percent of trees that are planted die, underground wells have run dry and babies are being born with defects.
The Research Association of Vision of North Korea, which includes North Korean defectors, interviewed 21 defectors who used to live in Kilju in the last couple of years.
“I heard from a relative in Kilju that deformed babies were born in hospitals there,” one defector said. Another said people in Kilju drink water that comes down from Mt. Mantap in Punggye-ri, where the nuclear test site is located, and they are worried about contamination from radiation.
Another said, “I spoke on the phone with family members I left behind there and they told me that all of the underground wells dried up after the sixth nuclear test.”
Suh Kyun-ryul, a professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National University, said, “Due to the collapsed ground layer, fissures must have formed underneath, leading to contamination of the underground layer and water supply.”