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Iran Press TV

UN warns of worsening hunger in North Korea

Iran Press TV

Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:58AM

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned against worsening hunger in North Korea as the country has hit a record low in food production since 2010 due to poor rainfall.

According to a statement by FAO, North Korea produced about 5.4 million tons of food, including cereals, soybeans and potatoes in 2015, down from 5.9 million tons it produced in 2014.

The country is facing a shortage of 394,000 tons of cereal, the biggest gap since 2011-2012, the statement added.

"Given the tight food supplies in 2015/16, the country's food security situation is expected to deteriorate from the previous year when most households were already estimated to have poor or borderline food consumption levels," the agency said.

In May 2015, the United Nations warned of a looming food crisis in North Korea due to drought, which the country's official media described as the worst in 100 years.

Poor rainfall and low availability of water for irrigation caused the production of paddy rice, the country's main staple, to drop by 25 percent to 1.9 million tons, FAO said.

North Korea has suffered regular chronic food shortages.

UN figures show that over 70 percent of North Koreans are food insecure and 28 percent of children under the age of five have suffered stunted growth due to malnutrition.

The country has come under the most crippling sanctions by the UN and the West recently over its nuclear missile tests.

On Thursday, South Korea claimed that North Korea had fired an intermediate range ballistic missile but it crashed seconds after the test launch.

A South Korean Defense Ministry official claimed the launch at about 6:40 a.m. local time (2140 GMT Wednesday) from near the east coast city of Wonsan.

The missile appeared to have been of a Musudan missile with a range of more than 3,000 km (1,800 miles) but crashed within seconds, the official said.

North Korea lists South Korea, the United States and Japan as its main enemies.

Nearly 30,000 US troops are based in South Korea and the two Koreas are still technically at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice.

On Saturday, North Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which traveled about 30 km (18 miles) off its east coast.

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