Trees are dying, underground water wells are drying up and mutant children are born near Punggye-ri nuclear test site in Kilju County, North Korea.
Defectors from the hermit kingdom, who had lived in the area of the nuclear test site for years, say that North Korean women residing in the area give birth to children with mutations. Local residents are forced to drink polluted water that flows from the mountain where the nuclear test site is located, Chosun Ilbo reports.
According to the publication, all underground wells dried up in the area of the site after the sixth nuclear test.
Officials with the DPRK administration do not warn ordinary people about nuclear tests. Common people were not informed about the nuclear tests, but the authorities took measures to evacuate military mens' families, one of the defectors said.
"In the area of the test site, farmers are forced to dig deep trenches to test the work of detonators. "During those works, they detonated once, and I personally saw corpses with severed limbs floating down the river," an unnamed person said adding that no one takes security measures during the tests of the detonators.
Defectors say that such local delicacies as trout and pine mushrooms have disappeared from the region. "Trout and pine mushrooms were sent to senior party officials as gifts in the 1980s, but they disappeared after the first nuclear test in 2006," one said.
Another defector, who worked as a forest officer in Kilju, said: "If you plant trees there in the mountains, 80% of them die."
Local residents were prohibited from traveling to Pyongyang after the sixth nuclear test.
Officials take all possible measures to keep the information about the nuclear test site secret. The people, who tried to take samples of soil, water and vegetation to other regions were arrested and sent to camps.
Meanwhile, scientists from all over the world are watching the activity of Paektu volcano, located on the border of China and the DPRK. Recently, the volcano began to show activity, having raised concerns in China, South Korea and Japan.
The most recent test of a hydrogen bomb near Paektu Mountains in the DRPK triggered a series of micro-earthquakes. Scientists believe that another similar test would make the eruption of Paektu Mount real.
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