News 10 august — 23:30

Red Cross warns of food crisis in North Korea as crops fail in heat

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A heat wave in North Korea has led to rice, maize and other crops withering in the fields, "with potentially catastrophic effects", the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Friday, Euronews reports.

The world's largest disaster relief network warned of a risk of a "full-blown food security crisis" in the isolated country, saying that the worrying situation had been exacerbated by international sanctions imposed due to North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

There had been no rainfall since early July as temperatures soared to an average 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) across the country, whose official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and the next rain was expected in mid-August, it said.

The population of 25 million is already stressed and vulnerable with malnutrition among children that could worsen, it said in a statement issued in Geneva.

"This is not yet classified as a drought, but rice, maize and other crops are already withering in the fields, with potentially catastrophic effects for the people of DPRK," said Joseph Muyamboit, its programme manager in Pyongyang.

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