Severe drought in North Korea is threatening crop production, which could lead to yet further food shortages. Emergency measures are being implemented to tackle the problems arising from lack of rain.
North Korea's meteorological service reportedly said this is the driest May in 50 years, with not only drought recorded but a shortage of drinking water. The western region is particularly badly affected by lack of rain, whilst AFP reported state newspapers said people were starving to death even in the country's agricultural heartland.
The Rodong Sinmun newspaper has called on workers and government employees to assist farmers to protect their crops and help with vital crop irrigation. It said "The fight against drought is a race against time. All sources of water must be developed and used efficiently."
Prime Minister Choe Yong-rim has been visiting farms to assess the situation and the Ministry of Agriculture is mobilizing citizens and soldiers across the nation to assist. Authorities fear that if the drought worsens leading to widespread famine it will reflect badly on the new leadership of Kim Jong Un.
U.S. food aid to North Korea was suspended in April due to the communist country's commitment to its nuclear program.