N. Korea suffering ‘severe’ drought – state media

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In this June 22, 2012 photo, rice plants grow from the cracked and dry earth in Rongchon-ri, North Korea, in the country’s Hwangju County. AP

SEOUL – North Korea is suffering from its worst spring drought in more than three decades, threatening thousands of acres of staple crops, state media said Friday.

“Severe drought” has been reported across the country, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Average rainfall between mid-February and late April – a crucial growing period – was 23.5mm, barely 35 percent of the normal seasonal precipitation and the lowest recorded since 1982.

“Thousands of acres of spring crops such as barley, wheat and potatoes have been damaged,” KCNA said.

“The grain harvest is expected to be very low as it is being hit by drought at a time when water is required the most,” it added.

North Korea has suffered regular chronic food shortages, with the situation exacerbated by floods, droughts and mismanagement.

Hundreds of thousands are believed to have died during a famine in the mid- to late-1990s.

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