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DPR Korea: Drought - Jun 2017

Disaster types

According to the Government, drought conditions are affecting North and South Pyongan, North and South Hwanghae provinces and Nampo City. Reduced rainfall since January 2017 (30 to 80 per cent decrease compared to average) has been affecting agricultural crop production over an estimated 50,000 hectares of land. Affected areas have reported that yields of some crops are expected to decrease between to 30 to 50 percent compared to last year. On 27 June, UN agencies, IFRC and INGO members travelled to South Hwanghae province together with authorities to assess the impact of the drought. Many reservoirs, which are a critical source for communities’ water supply and irrigation, are reportedly well below capacity and in some communities, water is reportedly being trucked in from other areas. (OCHA, 3 Jul 2017)

DPR Korea's crop production for 2017, including staple rice, maize, potatoes and soybean, has been severely damaged by prolonged dry weather conditions, threatening food security for a large part of its population...Although rains in the first half of July provided some relief, they were generally too late to allow normal planting and development of the 2017 main season crops, to be harvested in October-November...The lack of rain is expected to have a serious impact on main season crops in the major cereal producing areas, including the provinces of South and North Pyongan, South and North Hwanghae and Nampo City, which normally account for close to two-thirds of overall main season cereal production. With forecasts of reduced production of the 2017 main season crop, the food security situation is expected to further deteriorate during the 2017/18 marketing year and cereal import requirements are likely to increase. (FAO/GIEWS, 20 Jul 2017)

According to Government data and FAO satellite analysis, around 30% of early crops have been lost due to the dry spell that has struck the country. These crops constitute 10% of the overall harvest. Rain began this mornth which is important for the main crops, but given the reliance on agriculture any loss has negative impact on vulnerable communities’ food security and nutrition. As in previous years, the dry spell coincided with the lean period and as a consequence, government rations, of which 70% of the population rely, recently dropped to 300 grams per person per day from 400g, which is still well below the target 573g. (OCHA, 24 Jul 2017)

A prolonged dry season exacerbated the effects of the already chronic drought, UNICEF noted in a mid-year update. An estimated 18 million people are food insecure and 200,000 children are affected by acute malnutrition. (UNICEF, 25 Aug 2017)

In August 2017, WFP reached 649,431 people through nutrition support activities and delivered 1,650mt of fortified foods. UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) assistance of USD 2.5 million, approved for rapid response in August, will enable WFP to provide nutrition support to 186,012 children and women for four months (September – December) in 23 worst drought-affected counties. Due to funding constraints, WFP will continue providing reduced rations (66 percent of the standard ration – the minimum to have a nutrition impact) until the end of the year to children and pregnant and nursing women. (WFP, 31 Aug 2017)