SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korean state media highlighted worsening water shortages in one of the country's major rice-producing regions on Wednesday, raising worries about possible harm to this year's harvest.
"Not a few areas in the South Hwanghae Province are now facing serious water shortage caused by a combination of various factors," the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, said in an article.
The paper said that the water reservoirs in some areas of the province are falling below normal levels, making it hard for farmers to plant rice in their paddies as scheduled.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency also reported that the drought is hindering rice-planting efforts in South Hwanghae Province, expecting that precipitation will likely stay low until mid-June.
Hwanghae Province is known as one of the largest rice-producing areas for North Korea. The apparently ongoing drought in North Korea is feared to aggravate the already strained food supply in the impoverished state.
North Korean media outlets have been urging all-out efforts to fight drought in the face of a record dry spell. The Rodong Sinmun earlier reported that the country's precipitation level during the first five months of this year was the lowest since 1917.
Last 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, with an estimated 10 million people, or 40 percent of the population, in urgent need of food.
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