North Korea drought threatens famine and instability
North Korea drought threatens famine and instability.
According to a report released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on July 20, prolonged dry weather in the central and southern cereal-producing provinces in North Korea has led to "serious concerns" about the final production of the internationally isolated country’s main cropping season.
The FAO report also states that Pyongyang will need to import more than 500,000 tons of cereal to stave off famine.
"Immediate interventions are needed to support the affected farmers and prevent negative coping strategies for the most vulnerable households."
A new food crisis in North Korea also has the potential to stir discontent among the country’s middle class, who still remember the four-year famine in the mid-1990s that the regime euphemistically refers to as the "Arduous March."
Read:Dissidents reveal famine in homeland "It has been reported that the North Korea government has recently cut the daily food ration for everyone," Rah Jong Yil, a former head of South Korean intelligence, told DW.
The intelligence expert also said that it seems North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is sensing discontent.
Biting the hand that feeds But provocations towards countries that have in the past provided life-saving food aid continue.
In the mid-1990s, South Korea, China, the US, Japan and the European Union all provided food to the North Korean people, with shipments peaking in 2001 at 1.5 million tons.
According to a statement from the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, in mid-July, Russia delivered around 5,200 tons of flour to North Korea via the World Food Program.