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Hunger warning after early drought hits DPRK, 10.1 million in need of urgent food assistance

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (IFRC) warns early seasonal drought in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) could exacerbate hunger, malnutrition and health problems for thousands of children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, older people and the chronically ill.

The drought, which started in early spring after months of unusually erratic weather, is harming crops that should be harvested in June and September, IFRC reported.

In all, an estimated 10.1 million people (40% of the population) are in need of urgent food assistance – a situation that this drought could only worsen.

2019 drought follows below average (12%) food production in 2018, the lowest in a decade.

"We are particularly concerned about the impact that this early drought will have on children and adults who are already struggling to survive. Even before this drought, one in five children under five years old was stunted because of poor nutrition. We are concerned that these children will not be able to cope with further stress on their bodies," said Mohamed Babiker, head of the IFRC country office in DPRK.

"It seems clear, looking back at data collected over the past 50 years, that the current climate issues in DPRK are strongly related to climate change. What we see now is lack of snow during the winter leaving crops exposed to freezing temperatures as well as prolonged dry spells due to rainfall that is lower and less predictable. For people who are living on the margins, these changes can be devastating,"  IFRC’s disaster risk management delegate Daniel Wallinder said.

Featured image credit: Clay Gilliland

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