Tags: north korea | drought | famine | worst

North Korea Drought Could Be Worst the Country Has Seen in 100 Years

Image: North Korea Drought Could Be Worst the Country Has Seen in 100 Years
Female North Korean soldiers bring water to a corn field in Kohyon-ri, North Korea in the country's Hwangju County. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

By    |   Thursday, 18 Jun 2015 10:37 AM

North Korea is in the midst of a severe drought that the official Korean Central News Agency claims is the country’s worst in 100 years.

Although no hard evidence exists to corroborate this claim, United Nations officials expressed concern over the unusual lack of rain and called for $111 million to help fund its humanitarian operations in North Korea, officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, The New York Times reported.

This drought causes additional reasons for concern because it is occurring during North Korea’s prime rice paddy season and causing roughly 30 percent of rice paddies to dry up, according to The Associated Press. Rice seedlings have dried out and been unable to grow, and corn plants have also been scorched by the temperatures averaging nine to 12 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal.

The worsening conditions and fears of food shortages are also expected to contribute to the persistent problem of child malnutrition in this already impoverished country, The New York Times reported. In North Korea, 70 percent of the 25 million people are “food insecure” and almost a third of children under age five are stunted due to malnutrition.

Deforestation and soil erosion over the past few decades, along with government mismanagement of natural resources, have made North Korea especially susceptible to both droughts and floods, according to The Times. One famine in the 1990s killed hundreds of thousands of people, according to the North Korean government. The famine was also attributed with helping to loosen the government’s authoritarian grip on the economy by allowing private economic activity in unofficial markets, the AP reported.

Although many organizations, including the United Nations and The World Food Program, have called for humanitarian aid for the North Korean people in lieu of the drought, North Korea continues to restrict and monitor those aid operations, the AP noted. Furthermore, international sanctions against the country’s nuclear and missile programs complicate the aid distribution available.

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North Korea is in the midst of a severe drought that the official Korean Central News Agency claims is the country’s worst in 100 years.
north korea, drought, famine, worst
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2015-37-18
Thursday, 18 Jun 2015 10:37 AM
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