May 3 (UPI) -- Ordinary North Koreans who rely on the state for their survival are coping with reduced food rations, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Program on Friday.
The agencies said in a joint survey food rations per person were reduced to 300 grams a day, a decrease from a previous ration of 380 grams per day.
The drastic reduction of food to impoverished North Koreans is the result of the lowest crop yield in the country in 10 years in 2018, according to the organizations.
"This new food security assessment...has found that following the worst harvest in 10 years, due to dry spells, heat waves and flooding, 10.1 million people suffer from severe food insecurity, meaning they do not have enough food till the next harvest," WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel said, according to RTE.
Food production for 2019 is expected to reach 4.17 million tons, while food demand could exceed 5.7 million tons, raising fears of a famine similar to the crisis that hit North Korea in the 1990s. Three million people may have died from starvation two decades ago.
The FAO most recently conducted surveys of collective farms and food distribution agencies in North Korea from March 29 to April 12.
The WFP said as many as 10.1 million people could be affected by a severe food security crisis, owing to drought, extreme heat and floods. Summer temperatures on the Korean Peninsula reached a record high in 2018.
North Korea state media is ignoring the crisis and has not addressed it directly this week.
Propaganda outlet DPRK Today instead issued a statement of Friday, blaming "foreign forces" for lack of progress in inter-Korea relations.
"The issue of North-South relations and the issue of national unification must be solved by the power of the nation itself, according to the independent doctrines and demands of the people," DPRK Today said.