Pyongyang hits 100 year low in rainfall

From January to May 15 last, only 56.3 millimeters of rain or snow fell. Drought is feared in the agricultural sector. Last year, agricultural production reached its lowest level since 2008. 40% of the population is in urgent need of food.



Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Rainfall in North Korea has fallen to its lowest level in over 100 years, state media reports today, raising fears that the current drought is worsening the already serious food shortage affecting the population. From January to 15 May, only 56.3 millimeters of rain or snow fell on the national territory.

The weather experts of the Party's Rodong Sinmun, predict "that the rain will fall twice by the end of May, due to the low pressure in the northern area"; but they don't think it will rain "enough to overcome the drought". "These weather conditions will probably continue until the beginning of June," they conclude.

The North Korean media have highlighted growing concerns about the lack of rain, calling for all-out efforts to combat the phenomenon and minimize its negative impact on cereals and crops.

After a visit to North Korea earlier this month, the World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that last year's agricultural production in the country touched the lowest level since 2008. About 10 million people, or about 40% of the population, are in urgent need of food.

South Korea is drawing up plans to provide food assistance to Pyongyang, to counter the emergency and keep the negotiations stalled, despite the recent missile tests in the North.