Rain­fall gives respite to drought-hit North Korea; WFP pleads for funds

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Parched North Korea has seen sig­nif­i­cant rain­fall over the past 12 days, state media re­ported, but not enough to end a se­vere drought de­scribed as the worst in 100 years.

Parts of North and South Hwang­hae prov­inces, in the south­west of the coun­try, re­ceived “much rain” from June 11 to 22, rang­ing from 72 mm (2.9 inches) in Anak county to 95 mm in Haeju city, Korean Cen­tral News Agency (KCNA) said on Mon­day.

“Though it rained in North and South Hwang­hae prov­inces, drought will con­tinue to linger in the coun­try,” Sim My­ong Ok, deputy di­rec­tor of the North’s Cen­tral Weather Forecast Sta­tion, was quoted as say­ing by KCNA.

“As the an­ti­cy­clone over (the) north­west Pa­cific, which would af- fect the Eastern Asia, is not get­ting stronger enough due to El Nino, the rainy sea­son is an­tic­i­pated to set in late with com­par­a­tively lit­tle rain­fall.”

Ear­lier this month, KCNA said the North had been hit by the “worst drought in 100 years” that had caused “great dam­age”.

‘We need those re­sources (US$28 mil­lion) im­me­di­ately’

KCNA added the coun­try’s main rice-grow­ing ar­eas — North Hwang­hae, South Hwang­hae, South Py­on­gan and South Ham­gy­ong — had been badly hit.

The U. N. World Food Pro­gramme (WFP) said last week that early-harvest crops, mainly wheat and bar­ley, had al­ready been af­fected.

This will “lengthen and deepen the lean sea­son months” from April to Septem­ber when many North Kore­ans have to skip meals to cope with food short­ages, WFP Asia Deputy Re­gional Di­rec­tor John Ayli­eff said in an email in­ter­view with AFP.

At present, WFP’s oper­a­tions in the North are only 55 per­cent funded and it is able to reach only half of the 1.8 mil­lion highly vul­ner­a­ble and mal­nour­ished chil­dren and women which its pro­gramme tar­gets, he said.

“In view of the dry spell and its im­pli­ca­tions, such fund­ing short­falls could not be oc­cur­ring at a worse time,” he added.

“It is crit­i­cal that we have the re­sources at our dis­posal to fend off a rise in malnutrition and we need those re­sources (US$28 mil­lion) im­me­di­ately, if we are to re­spond ad­e­quately.”

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