North Korea’s nuclear tests are causing babies to be born with defects, it has been reported.
Defectors from Kilju county, where the Punggye-ri underground nuclear test facility is located, also said 80% of trees that are planted die and underground wells have run dry.
The shocking witness accounts come from a group of 21 defectors who were interviewed by the Research Association of Vision of North Korea, according to the South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
They emerged as US President Donald Trump urged North Korea to ‘come to the table’ and discuss giving up its nuclear weapons.
Mr Trump said he ‘hoped to God’ he did not have to use the US military against Pyongyang.
He was speaking at a press conference with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in in Seoul, as part of his tour of Asia.
The US leader has previously threatened ‘fire and fury’ against Pyongyang.
He is on a five-nation tour of Asia, where North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have been high on his agenda.
One defector said people in North Korea are worried about contamination from radiation.
Another said: “I heard from a relative in Kilju that deformed babies were born in hospitals there.”
Another former resident, referring to the rogue regime’s most recent nuclear test, 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.”
The defectors, who include one person who experienced two nuclear tests in October 2006 and May 2009, said locals were not warned in advance.