UN food agencies alarmed at catastrophic impact of drought and typhoon on Korea DPR's crops

FAO and the World Food Programme expressed "very serious alarm" September 12 over food shortages in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, where drought and a destructive typhoon will again seriously reduce food production this year. The country's food outlook will be considerably worse in 1998 than that following the previous two years of disasters.

After two years of flooding, devastating drought hit the country in mid June

Typhoon Winnie caused extensive damage to rice in coastal areas in the west

In a report issued at a press briefing at FAO Headquarters, staff from the two UN agencies presented the findings of a two-week mission, during which they visited Korea DPR's main agricultural areas. They reported that drought has devastated crops throughout the country. In addition, Typhoon Winnie caused extensive damage in late August to rice in coastal areas in the west, where tidal waves destroyed dykes, seawater invaded cropland and thousands of people were left homeless.

With Korea DPR's agriculture, food supply and the health of its population already suffering, the report warned that ìthe potential consequences of this year's calamities are likely to far exceed the devastation of the last two years.

Karin-Lis Svarre, Director of FAO's Information Division, announced at the briefing that Director-General Jacques Diouf was on his way to Korea DPR "to get a first-hand look at the very serious situation".

The country will now have to depend to an even greater extent on international assistance for food, agricultural rehabilitation and vital inputs of seed and fertilizers.

"Without these interventions the human consequences are likely to be dire," the report said.

16 September 1997

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