North Korea appeals for food aid as early spring drought could exacerbate hunger, malnutrition and health problems for thousands of children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, older people and the chronically ill.
State media says rainfall was at record lows for the first five months of the year as experts blame climate change
Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) country office in DPRK, Mohamed Babiker, said:
“We are particularly concerned about the impact that this early drought will have on children and adults who are already struggling to survive,” said Mohamed Babiker, who heads the North Korea office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
“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.”
In addition, The Red Cross is running about 100 community greenhouses to grow vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, chilis and mushrooms all year round. Volunteers are also looking to pilot household greenhouses to ensure families can eat green vegetables all year round.
Daniel Wallinder, a disaster risk management delegate for the federation, said it seemed clear that the current issues were 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.” Wallinder said in a statement.