In the News – North Korea says nearly 120 killed after July rainfalls

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In the News – North Korea says nearly 120 killed after July rainfalls

(Reuters) – Recent torrential rain and a typhoon inNorth Korea have killed 119 people, made more than 84,000 homeless and destroyed some 46,000 hectares of crops, the official news agency said on Wednesday.

It is now feared that the rains and typhoon that led to floods in many parts of the impoverished country will deal a severe blow to North Korea’s already malfunctioning economy and exacerbate its already serious food shortages.

“Downpours swept some east and west coastal areas of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on July 29-30, leaving 31 people dead and 16 missing,” the KCNA news agency said on Wednesday, using the country’s official name.

This was on top of the damage KCNA previously reported as resulting from about a week of heavy rainfall and floods earlier in July, which led to 88 deaths and left thousands left homeless.

A United Nations inter-agency team was already deployed to the two hardest-hit areas to assess the damage from recent floods with a view to developing an aid plan, a U.N. official said on Tuesday.

Since the mid-1990s, North Korea’s farm sector has frequently been devastated by floods and drought. The floods could weigh on Kim’s efforts to buoy the moribund economy.

Landslides and lightning storms also led to some casualties while floods damaged some coal mines, North Korea’s primary energy source, KCNA also reported on Wednesday.

North Korea remains one of the most isolated states in the world. That has not changed since new leader Kim Jong-un took power seven months ago.

A recent United Nations report classified 7.2 million of the 24 million population as “chronic poor” and said one in three children were stunted due to poor nutrition.

Original Article

In the News – N. Korea steps up fight against drought

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In the News – N. Korea steps up fight against drought

SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) — North Korea is stepping up its fight against drought as a prolonged dry spell in the rice-planting season could deal a blow to food production and negatively impact the rule of the its new young leader.

The impoverished nation’s main Rodong Sinmun newspaper, state television and other media outlets are urging citizens to utilize every possible source of water to irrigate rice paddies, while also offering advice on how to help other crops overcome drought.

Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Friday that western regions of the North have received little rain for a month since April 26. If no rain falls by the end of the month, it will be the driest May for most western regions of the nation since 1962, the agency said.

KCNA reported Saturday that many people have been mobilized across the nation to minimize damage from the drought and that the cabinet and the agriculture ministry are putting together emergency measures.

The North’s premier, Choe Yong-rim, visited farms in the western Hwanghae Province on Saturday to check the situation, KCNA said. Choe was quoted as urging farmers to finish rice planting successfully, saying resolving food problems is one of the country’s most important issues.

New leader Kim Jong-un has stressed the importance of food production in the two personal statements he has made to the people this year. A bad harvest could deal a blow to his regime as he tries to consolidate his grip on power.

The North has relied on outside food aid to feed its 24-million population since natural disasters and mismanagement devastated its economy in the mid-1990s.

 

Original article can be found here.

In the News – N. Korea’s west coast affected by severe drought

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In the News – N. Korea’s west coast affected by severe drought

SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) — North Korea’s western coast region is experiencing severe drought that could seriously affect food production this year, a report by the communist country’s state-run media said Saturday.

The (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), picked up in Seoul, said that if there is no rainfall by the end of the month, the drought will be recorded as the worst since 1962.

It said from April 26 onwards, the capital city of Pyongyang received 2 millimeters of rain, while 5 millimeters fell in Haeju of South Hwanghae Province.

The KCNA added that Sinuiju, just across from the Chinese border city of Dandong, reported getting just 1 millimeter of rain in the past month.

The wire service said advanced weather forecasts indicate that little rainfall is expected in June, which can pose challenges for farmers in the region.

 

Original article can be found here.

Master Key

It’s so nice to see these kids having a good time. Knowing that they’re just normal kids.

We’re at Hangyeorae Boarding School, the place where North Korean teenage defectors go to catch up with the crazy South Korean education system.

I watched the high school boys play soccer one night in the rain. We were supposed to go take a tour of the community garden, but when 7:00 came some boys were rounding up their friends and trying to track down cleats and a ball and we knew that the garden thing couldn’t compete. So instead a few friends and I walked up the hill to watch them play. A typical high school boys’ impromptu soccer game of Shirts vs. Skins.

One of the first things you notice is the far team’s goalie, a boy known to us as Master Key—if there is a better nickname I am not aware. Continue reading