SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — About 60 percent of North Korea’s population are facing food insecurity as the global coronavirus pandemic appears to be taking a toll on the country’s food supplies, a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed Thursday.
According to the report by the department’s Economic Research Service, 59.8 percent of North Korea’s population or some 15.30 million people in the country remain “food-insecure.”
“An estimated 59.2 percent of North Korea’s population is food-insecure in 2020, rising slightly to 59.8 percent when the effects of the COVID-19 macro shock are taken into account,” the report said.
The ratio is higher than last year’s corresponding figure of 57.3 percent, meaning that 700,000 more people are suffering food insecurity from a year earlier.
Food insecurity occurs when people fall short of the nutritional target of 2,100 calories per day, the report said.
North Korea was among three Asian countries facing major food insecurity, along with Afghanistan and Yemen, the report said.
North Korea is known for suffering from chronic food shortages caused by drought, flooding and other unfavorable weather conditions in recent years.
The food situation in the North is expected to worsen amid worries that its antivirus efforts, including border closures, and recent flooding caused by heavy downpours in major rice-producing regions could reduce overall supplies.