Ministry downplays reports on North Korea's food situation

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 16, 2019

North Korea says it is suffering its worst drought in almost four decades amid concern about a food crisis in the country.

Seoul in 2017 had aimed to send US$4.5 million (S$6.16 million) worth of nutritional products to North Korea through the WFP, but that never happened partially due to Pyongyang's nuclear tests that year. Add North Korea as an interest to stay up to date on the latest North Korea news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

From January to early May this year, North Korea only received 54.4 millimetres of rain or snow, the smallest amount since the same period in 1982, the state-run KCNA said, describing the situation as "an extreme drought".

Last month, the WFP and the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a joint report that North Korea's crop output a year ago hit the lowest level since 2008, and that an estimated 10 million people - 40 per cent of the entire population - are in urgent need of food. The United Nations reported earlier this month that North Korea has a food deficit of 1.36 million metric tons.

North Korean officials have blamed the food shortage on bad weather and worldwide economic sanctions that were toughened after the country conducted a series of high-profile nuclear and missile tests in recent years.

In a high-stakes summit in Vietnam in February, U.S. President Donald Trump rejected North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's call for an easing of the sanctions in return for dismantling his main nuclear complex, a partial disarmament step.

North Korea suffered a devastating starvation in the mid-1990s that is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of people.

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