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Extreme weather could worsen food crisis in N. Korea: WFP

A village in North Korea is destroyed by Typhoon Maysak. (KCNA-Yonhap)
A village in North Korea is destroyed by Typhoon Maysak. (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korea could face a growing food crisis due to extreme weather, such as torrential rains and droughts, causing more residents there to suffer from poverty and malnutrition, David Beasley, director of the United Nations World Food Program, said Sept. 8.

The food agency chief told an online forum hosted by the Unification Ministry here that international cooperation was critical in reversing that trend, saying it should “also underpin the global community’s engagement with the DPRK.”

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is North Korea’s official name.

Beasley said his agency continues to seek ways to work with the South Korean government, which he described as the WFP’s “largest government supporter,” having gone from recipient to donor in just one generation.

The WFP has assisted the hunger-stricken North since 1995, when the North made an official request for humanitarian aid after entering a ferocious cycle of drought and famine that lasted at least three years.

South Korea sent rice in 1995 and the US began aid shipments the following year.

The hunger agency chief said its shrinking funds posed a long-term challenge to the group as it battles to keep operations running around the world, with offices in Pyongyang already becoming understaffed.

The chief added that the ongoing talks to disarm a nuclear-armed North Korea should also address human rights violations there.

By Choi Si-young (