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International aid and farming in Korea

Pyongyang, September 2 (KCNA) — The spokesman for the flood damage rehabilitation committee and the director of the Agricultural Production Department of the Agricultural Commission of the DPRK today answered questions put by KCNA as regards international humanitarian aid given to the DPRK up to date and this year’s farming in the DPRK.

Recalling that international organisations and governments, groups and individual figures of different countries have sent food, medicines and other humanitarian relief materials to the DPRK which has undergone temporary difficulties including shortage of food caused by years of natural disasters, they said:
Only in August, more than 100,000 tons of food and other relief materials donated by the world food program, the European Union and other international organisations and different countries arrived in our country.
Now, the WFP, the EU, other international organisations and donator-nations are endeavouring to send secured food and other relief materials to our country while securing them to the maximum as planned for this year.
Encouraged by humanitarian aid from the international community, we, determined to solve the food problem this year by ourselves under any circumstances, made substantial preparations for farming with the general mobilisation of all the people and the whole army from the beginning of the year. Thus, we finished major farming processes including rice and maize transplantation and weeding in the right season and thus laid foundations to increase the grain output.
Nevertheless, an unexpected abnormal weather severely hit our country in the latter half of the year.
In July and August, east and west coastal areas including Kangwon, South Hamgyong, South Phyongan and South Hwanghae provinces and Kaesong suffered from cold weather, downpour and hail while Jagang and Ryanggang provinces and other northern inland areas were hit by off-season cold weather.
In our country, rice, maize and other crops come into ear or are pollinated in July and August. Accordingly, the ratio of hours of sunshine must be high for increased grain output and much rain is harmful in this period.
But, in Kaesong area downpours of 230 to 250 millimetres on an average fell for two or three hours at intervals of two or three days from August 4 through 10. As a result, the arable land where only 40 percent of crops had ears due to cold weather was buried in the ground or submerged in water. More than 60 percent of rice harvest is expected to decrease in this area.
In early July hail fell several times in Jasong county, Jagang Province, and in the west coast areas, including Phihyon and Ryongchon counties of North Phyongan Province, tearing maize leaves or breaking maize tassels. A piece of hail was 15 millimetres in diametre. Harvest cannot be expected from nearly all the fields.
Crops have not grown well owing to the abnormal weather in the areas that were not directly exposed to natural disasters. The ratio of hours of sunshine went down drastically, keeping the crops from coming into ear and being pollinated. As a consequence, per-head grains will decrease in number and many of the crops will have empty heads.
According to the conservative data available as of late-August, Kangwon, North and South Hwanghae, north and south Hamgyong, north and south Phyongan provinces, Kaesong and other afflicted areas were subjected to the loss of lives.
128,927 hectares of arable land were submerged in water, washed away or buried in ground. More than 10,000 dwelling houses were destroyed or submerged in water. Heavy damage was also reported from various domains of the national economy.
A few days ago, the representatives of the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs, the World Food Program, the United Nations Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and red crescent societies here learned about the damage on the spot.
This year the prospects of harvest have become gloomy owing to the natural damage caused by the recent abnormal weather. Accordingly, international assistance still remains urgent.
Though the Korean people are suffering from the heavy damage caused by natural disasters and shortage of food, they are working hard to solve the food problem at an early date and normalise agricultural production.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/26781577@N07/14876597009/

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