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‘North Korea deploys office workers to combat drought, food shortages’; Report

North Korean office employees and industrial workers have been despatched to farmland areas around the nation to assist in the battle against drought, according to state media on Wednesday, amid fears about protracted food shortages. Despite small gains early last year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for efforts to ease a precarious food situation exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic and typhoons.

Drought and floods have long been a periodic threat to North Korea, which lacks irrigation systems and other infrastructure, and any significant natural disasters may collapse its isolated economy, which is already suffering from international sanctions and a near-complete standstill in commerce. According to the North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, government officials, corporate and factory workers, and farmers nationally collaborated to distribute pumping equipment and improve water supplies in drought-prone areas.

Drought and floods have always been a periodic threat to North Korea, which lacks irrigation systems and other infrastructure, and any significant natural disasters may collapse its isolated economy, which is already suffering from international sanctions and a virtual standstill in trade. According to the North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, government officials, corporate and industrial employees joined forces with farmers countrywide to distribute pumping equipment and enhance water supplies in drought-prone areas.

The meteorological service said last week that the average temperature for April was 2.3 degrees Celsius (36.1 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than usual, with only 44 percent of the nation’s typical rainfall. People in Anju and Kaechon, north of Pyongyang, built ponds, applied fertilizer and growth boosters to crops, and dispatched tractors, trucks, and cultivators to transport water to farms, according to Rodong. According to another dispatch, youthful labor groups are known as dolgyeokdae or youth brigades, which are normally mobilized in large infrastructure projects, have recently created canals in the eastern port city of Hamhung as part of efforts to modernise and expand irrigational systems.

In March, the UN asked Pyongyang to reopen its borders to relief workers and food imports, claiming that the country’s increasing isolation had put many people at risk of hunger. North Korea has not publicly verified any COVID-19 incidents, although it has blocked borders and imposed travel restrictions before briefly restarting commerce with China earlier this year. Even before the epidemic, the World Food Program estimated that 11 million people, or more than 40% of the population, were malnourished and in need of humanitarian aid.

 

 

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