3.4% of North Koreans Listed as Disabled

Korea Times
Kim Rahn

North Korea has about 763,000 disabled people, 3.41 percent of its total population, according a report.

The World Association of Milal, a South Korean missionary organization, released the report Wednesday which it obtained from a North Korean organization, the only group in the North supporting the disabled.

The report said there were 763,237 disabled people in the North as of 1999. Among them, 296,518 people, or 38.8 percent, were physically disabled, while 168,141, or 22 percent, had hearing troubles, 165,088 or 21 percent had eyesight impairment, and 37,780 were mentally handicapped.

By sex, the male disabled accounted for 57 percent, 435,045 people.

The report said Pyoksong county in South Hwanghae Province had the highest ratio of residents with disabilities, with 5.1 percent. The region was followed by Tongchon of Kangwon Province with 3.9 percent and Pyongwon in South Pyongan Province, with 3.8 percent.

In Pyongyang, where North Korea claims not a single disabled person lives, 1.75 percent of the city’s population were disabled. Urban areas had more handicapped people than rural areas, with 64 percent of the total.

More than 30 percent of the total disabled were in asylums, 23.8 percent were laborers, 9.4 percent were intellectuals, 7.8 percent were farmers, and 1.9 percent were students.

About 40 percent developed the disabilities from diseases, while 15.6 percent were congenital, and 19 percent from accidents.

In South Korea, about 1.7 million people are registered as disabled, more than twice that of North Korea.

In the South, the ratio of the physically disabled is about 41 percent of total handicapped people, higher than that of the North. The ratio of those with hearing problems and eyesight trouble in the South is lower than the North, with 10.3 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively.


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