World Bulletin / News Desk
North Korea is experiencing its "worst drought in 100 years," according to the reclusive state’s official news agency Wednesday.
Despite visible agricultural advances in the North since its disastrous famine of the 1990s, the United Nations had already begun a push two months ago to raise $111 million for the country’s basic needs.
By Pyongyang’s own admission, the current lack of rainfall is “causing great damage,” KCNA reported -- particularly in areas vital for rice farming.
If there is any doubt about the gravity of the situation, even North Korea’s far wealthier southern neighbor is struggling to cope with the weather.
South Korea’s acting Prime Minister Choi Kyung-hwan vowed Wednesday to support local farmers, with prices of staples like onions and cabbage more than doubling this month compared to last year amid shortages.
Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans died during the country’s famine two decades ago, with many of the refugees who fled to the South citing starvation as the reason for their escape.
The subsequent years have reportedly seen a limited level of freedom enter the North’s previously strictly controlled economy, but the UN estimates that as many as 18 million people there are still lacking adequate access to nutrition.
Pyongyang’s need for help may have been a factor behind its offer to hold talks with Seoul earlier this week -- before it also took the unusual step of repatriating two captured South Koreans on “humanitarian” grounds.
The South is no stranger to offering North Korea aid, but the two countries also regularly exchange aggressive rhetoric and remain in a state of war as they never signed a peace treaty after their 1950-53 conflict.Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Haziran 2015, 17:10