SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- Drought is gripping North Korea, with Pyongyang's state TV reporting that the average precipitation across the country in the January-May period is expected to be the lowest since it began compiling data.
During a weather forecast Saturday night, the North's Korean Central Television reported that the average nationwide precipitation in the five month period amounted to 54.4 mm, only about 42.3 percent of that in previous years.
"The average nationwide precipitation in the January-May period is expected to be recorded as the smallest since weather observation began," the report said without offering further details, such as when the country began compiling such data.
The drought is expected to further aggravate the worsening food shortages in the country.
Earlier this month, the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a joint report that North Korea's crop output last year hit the lowest level since 2008. They added that an estimated 10 million people in North Korea, 40 percent of its population, are in urgent need of food.
South Korea is formulating plans to provide food aid to the North to help ease worsening food shortages in the impoverished communist nation and keep the stalled peace process with Pyongyang alive. President Moon Jae-in said he wants to go ahead with the aid plans despite the North's recent firing of missiles.
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