Three destructive typhoons, U.S.-backed sanctions and the global pandemic are fueling concern that North Korea’s 26 million people could slip back into the devastating food shortages the country faced during the rule of Kim Jong Un’s father in the 1990s.

Kim said the country is under "an intensive struggle” to recover from the floods and typhoons, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. Kim has been shown repeatedly exhorting officials to minimize the damage to crops and boost yields.

"How many people have endured and struggled with the difficult environment this year?” Kim said, appearing to cry in his speech during a massive military parade on Oct. 10. "The patriotic devotion of our People’s Army soldiers on the quarantine front and in natural disaster recovery front cannot be treated without tears of gratitude.”