North Korea has said it is suffering its worst drought in the last 37 years. There are reports of severe food shortages in the country. It is notable that North Korea also suffered a devastating famine in the mid-1990s that is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of people.
According to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea received an average of 54.4 millimetres (2.1 inches) of rain in the first five months of this year. It is the lowest level since 1982. North Korea received 51.2 millimetres (2 inches) of rain on average during the same period in 1982.
UN food agencies revealed the report of the worst drought in North Korea on Wednesday. UN food agencies said that about 10 million people in North Korea were facing severe food shortages. The country had one of the worst harvests in a decade.
In February, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, issued an appeal for urgent food assistance. North Korean officials have blamed the food shortage on bad weather and international economic sanctions. These sanctions were toughened after North Korea conducted a series of high-profile nuclear and missile tests in recent years.
It is remarkable that in a high-stakes summit in Vietnam in February, President Donald Trump rejected North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s call for an easing of the sanctions in return for dismantling his main nuclear complex.
KCNA said that the drought is expected to continue until the end of May. According to reports, officials and workers are attempting to find new water sources and mobilise pumps and irrigation equipment to minimise the damage to agriculture.