North Korea facing worst drought in 100 years

Seoul, June 17 (IANS/EFE) North Korea’s state media claims the country is suffering from its “worst drought in 100 years”, leading to fears of aggravation of the chronic food crisis plaguing the country since the 1990s.

“The worst drought in 100 years continues in the DPRK (North Korea) causing great damage,” said state-owned KCNA agency in a statement on its website on Wednesday.

KCNA, the mouthpiece of the regime, says that nearly one-third of the 441,000-hectare (around 1,089,735-acre) rice fields in the country were drying up.

Lack of rain has especially affected the provinces of North and South Hwanghae, located in the south-east.

In North Hwanghae, 58 percent of the rice fields have dried up while in South Hwanghae the figure is around 80 percent, according to KCNA.

It added other crops were being planted on the affected rice fields to reduce the impact on agriculture.

It also warned that water at reservoirs had reached a critical level, and that rivers and streams were also drying up.

An official from South Korea’s ministry of unification told Efe news agency, that North Korea was yet to ask for help to tackle the crisis.

Total precipitation in North Korea between January and March was only 57 percent of the average, according to the ministry.

Seoul calculates if the condition persists until July, agricultural production could be hit by 15 to 20 percent, causing a humanitarian disaster.

Despite the situation improving slightly in 2014, one in three North Korean children suffer from malnutrition, according to the World Food Programme.


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