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10 mln N. Koreans in urgent need of food assistance: U.N. report

All News 08:54 March 12, 2020

SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) -- About 10 million people in North Korea are in urgent need of food assistance as the country's farming has apparently been affected by yearslong "dry" and "irregular" climate patterns, according to a U.N. report.

"Dry weather persisted throughout the first half of 2019 in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea after two consecutive years of dry conditions and irregular weather patterns," the World Meteorological Organization said in the report, using North Korea's official name.

"On average, only 56.3 mm of rainfall in the country from January to March 2019, which is the lowest on record since 1917. About 10 million people urgently require food assistance," the WMO noted.

North Korea has claimed it had a bumper crop last year, but it is known to be struggling with chronic food shortages caused by drought and other unfavorable weather conditions. A lack of necessary farming materials, including fertilizer, amid global sanctions has also been cited as a factor that hampers farming.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), another U.N. agency, recently said in a report that North Korea is one of 44 countries in need of external food assistance.

Last April, the FAO and the World Food Programme jointly conducted a survey of food situations in the North and said that around 40 percent of the North's population of some 25 million was estimated to be "food insecure."

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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