08/05/2008, 00.00
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Flooding pounds North Korea making food crisis worse

Last week’s rains cause flooding in large areas of the provinces of Kangwon and South Hwanghae, putting millions of people at risk from hunger. US is sending 500,000 tonnes of food aid to cope with the emergency.
Pyongyang (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Heavy rains caused “considerable” damage to farmland, aggravating a food crisis that could turn into a catastrophe, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

“Recent torrential rains have damaged crops,” KCNA said, especially in the provinces of Kangwon and South Hwanghae.

North Korea is experiencing one of its worst food crisis, one that is comparable to the famine that struck the country at the end of the 1990s.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has sounded the alarm, stressing that harvest shortages in the last few years and flooding last year have left millions of North Koreans without enough to eat.

“The recent downpours inflicted heavy losses to various sectors of the national economy, including agriculture,” KCNA said.

In order to partly offset the problem the US government has sent a second shipment of US food aid to North Korea. The ship reached the western port of Nampo yesterday.

The North's traditional foe, the United States, has promised to deliver 500,000 tonnes of food this year, 400,000 tons of the total through the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) and the rest through private US agencies.

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