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N. Korean media says precipitation drops to lowest in over 100 years

North Korea 10:35 May 17, 2019

SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's media reported Friday that the country's precipitation has dropped to the lowest level in more than 100 years amid worries that the ongoing drought could aggravate the impoverished state's food shortages.

North Korea received 56.3 millimeters of rain or snow from January to May 15, the smallest amount since 1917, according to the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party.

"We expect rain to fall twice by the end of May due to low pressure in the northern area, but we don't think it will rain enough to overcome drought," the paper quoted a weather expert as saying. "Such weather conditions will likely continue into early June."

It appears that the North's drought has been getting worse in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, the Korean Central News Agency reported that the country received 54.4 mm of rain or snow from January to early May, the smallest since the 51.2 mm recorded during the same period of 1982.

North Korean media outlets have highlighted growing concerns over drought, calling for all-out efforts to fight it and minimize its detrimental impact on grains and harvests.

The World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization recently reported, based on their visit to North Korea, that the country's crop output last year hit the lowest level since 2008, adding that an estimated 10 million people, or about 40 percent of its population, are in urgent need of food.

South Korea is drawing up plans to provide food to North Korea in the hope of helping alleviate the situation there and to help keep the stalled negotiating process alive, despite the North's recent projectile launches.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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