Drought conditions bring damage to crops in South Korea

Seed planting for water-intense crops such as cabbage, beans and scallions have been delayed in many areas.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   June 3, 2015 at 12:21 PM
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SEOUL, June 3 (UPI) -- A drought has hit key crop regions in South Korea, leaving fields bone dry and delaying the country's planting season.

Seoul's Agriculture Ministry said Wednesday local administrations and the Korea Rural Community Corporation were coordinating a joint response system to the detrimental conditions in areas near Seoul and in rural regions.

Regions affected include Incheon, Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

The Agriculture Ministry said a situation room is to go into operation to monitor the drought conditions in the areas affected.

Aerial photos taken on Wednesday showed troubling images of a dried up lake in South Korea's Gangwon province. Boats that once tugged along the waters were stranded atop a field of green weeds.

South Korean television network KBS reported the rivers in the affected places were running at low levels, or at 60 percent. In the city of Paju and 12 other counties near Seoul, 3,521 acres of fields were parched. Another 5,360 acres of fields used to plant potato, corn and cabbage were at the risk of crop failure.

Seed planting for water-intense crops such as cabbage, beans and scallions have been delayed in many zones.

South Korea is expected to draw from a $32 million drought emergency fund to operate wells, pump water and send water trucks to affected regions.

South Korea is not alone in its struggles with drought conditions.

In May Curtis Melvin of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said North Korea is experiencing drought in its key crop regions – making it the worst blight in years for the isolated country.

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