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N. Korea braces for monsoon season

North Korea 13:24 July 15, 2019

SEOUL, July 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korean media called Monday for thorough preparations for floods ahead of the full-swing start of the annual monsoon season.

The North's state TV forecast nationwide rain Monday, urging its people to stay alert against any possible water-related damage to their livestock and farming fields.

The report came a day after the TV aired pictures showing facilities, homes, rice paddies and roads washed away by downpours in June.

North Korea is prone to damage from heavy rains during the monsoon season apparently due to deforestation and lack of an effective disaster control system.

In August 2016, the North's northeastern area was hit hard by torrential downpours, which left hundreds of people dead or missing.

Despite downpours in some areas, many parts of the North are facing droughts and have poor irrigation systems, which combine to wreak havoc on farming amid worries over its aggravating food shortage problem.

On Sunday, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said that Premier Kim Jae-ryong inspected a drought-hit area and called for efforts to secure water supplies for farming.

GEOGLAM, a Switzerland-based crop monitoring organization, expressed concerns in a recent report that below-average rainfall this year in North Korea is already taking a toll on its crops, such as rice and maize, and a prolonged drought could make matters worse.

South Korea is trying to send 50,000 tons of rice to North Korea through the World Food Programme to help Pyongyang address its worsening food shortage problem. It aims to send the food aid to the North before September.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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