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Torrential rains hit N. Korea

All Headlines 10:38 August 05, 2008

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- Torrential rains that hit North Korea in recent days have damaged crops and affected other parts of the nation's economy, the North's state media said Monday.

The news came as North Korea faces one of its most dire food shortages in history caused by floods and economic mismanagement.

"The recent downpours inflicted heavy losses to various sectors of the national economy, including agriculture and to the people living in the relevant areas," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

Heavy rain fell throughout the communist nation over the weekend as well as last month, the report said.

Hardest hit were the provinces of Kangwon, South and North Pyongan and South Hwanghae, where 150 to 400 millimeters of rains fell on each of the three days, it added.

Kangwon's Geumgang County, especially, had nine straight hours of torrential rains on Saturday.

North Korea has relied on foreign handouts to help feed its 23 million population since the late 1990s, when between one to three million people were believed to have starved to death.

The U.N. World Food Program's director for North Korea Jean-Pierre de Margerie said in Beijing last week that North Korea is suffering its worst food crisis since the late 1990s due to rising grain prices and a poor harvest.


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