In Rare Public Admission, North Korea Warns of Worst Drought in Century

The state news agency of North Korea announced Tuesday that the country is experiencing its worst drought in a century, exacerbating chronic food shortages and drying up rice paddies—imperiling a major sustenance crop in a country where one third of children under five are already stunted due to malnourishment.

“The worst drought in 100 years continues in the DPRK, causing great damage to its agricultural field,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, using the short form for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“Water levels of reservoirs stand at the lowest, while rivers and streams are getting dry,” KCNA reported on Tuesday, adding that the drought had caused about 30 percent of its rice paddies—which need to be partially submerged in water—to dry up.

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