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Hot, dry spell in North Korea could hurt crops, state media says

By Elizabeth Shim
Hot, dry spell in North Korea could hurt crops, state media says
North Korea's fields are dry and showing soil cracks, KCNA said Wednesday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

July 10 (UPI) -- North Korea is experiencing ongoing drought, and the year's harvest could be severely affected, state media said Wednesday.

Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA reported the drought that began in the spring could have long-term impact.

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"Most parts of the western coast, and the central inland, are experiencing high temperatures," KCNA said. "Serious drought conditions are ongoing."

State media said the area most seriously hit includes South Hwanghae Province, known as the rice basket of the country.

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"Soil cracks owing to water shortages are visible in Ongjin and Kangryong counties in South Hwanghae province, Hwangju county in North Hwanghae province," KCNA stated. "Almost 50 percent of paddy fields in Kumchon county, North Hwanghae province, are dry and have been damaged due to extreme weather."

Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Sunday if drought causes further damage there will be no harvest in the upcoming season.

North Korea's meteorological administration said rainfall in May was 37 to 46.3 percent of the average. Weather conditions are increasing concerns of a food shortage in the country, according to Yonhap news agency.

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International organizations, including the Group on Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative, or GEOGLAM, and the Food and Agriculture Organization, have forecast drought in North Korea will severely impact crop yield this year

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In May, officials from North Korea's Red Cross Society visited China.

North Korea also requested assistance from the International Federation of the Red Cross in February. United Nations agencies recently said ordinary North Koreans who rely on the state for survival are coping with reduced food rations. Rations per person were reduced to 300 grams a day, a decrease from a previous ration of 380 grams per day.

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South Korea has pledged 50,000 tons of food aid to the North.

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