|[Published: Thursday May 16 2019]
North Korea suffers worst drought in decades
PYONGYANG 16 May (ANA) - North Korea has said it is suffering its worst drought in 37 years and called on its citizens to "battle" against the crop damage caused by it.
It comes after the UN said that up to 10 million North Koreans were "in urgent need of food assistance".
North Koreans had been surviving on just 300g (10.5 oz) of food a day so far this year, the UN report said.
In the 1990s, a devastating famine is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of North Koreans.
There is no indication as yet that this drought will be as severe, but it follows a slew of warnings about poor harvests and crop damage across the country.
"As yet it's not really clear how bad things are as, with everything related to North Korea, the data is hardly transparent," Oliver Hotham from NK News told the BBC.
But, he points out, that if official data is accurate, their research suggests North Korea would need to import as much as 1.5 million tonnes of food to make up for the shortfall in production.
North Korea's state media outlet KCNA said 54.4mm (21 in) of rain fell throughout the country in the first five months of the year. It said this was the lowest level recorded since 1982.
The country's leading newspaper Rodong Sinmun added that "water is needed now more than ever", saying the country was in a "fierce battle" to prevent drought damage.
"Workers in the agriculture sector must... storm to thoroughly protect farm fields from drought damage," it said.
Last month, the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) and its Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a joint report that North Korea's crop output in 2018 hit the lowest level since 2008.(ANA)
FA/ANA/16 May 2019-----