Amid drought warnings, the Kuwait crisis could deepen food shortages in North Korea. ProIQRA News

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Analysts say the spread of North Korea’s corona virus threatens to worsen the already serious food crisis this year, as a nationwide lockdown will hamper ongoing anti-drought efforts and mobilize workers. ۔

Isolated North on Thursday confirmed the outbreak of its first COVID-19 outbreak since an outbreak more than two years ago, declared a “major national emergency” and imposed a national lockdown.

The outbreak came as the country launched an “all-out war” against drought, with leader Kim Jong Un warning of food shortages caused by epidemics and last year’s storms.

State media said last week that factory workers and even office workers and government officials had been sent to help improve farming facilities and secure water resources across the country.

Droughts and floods have long posed seasonal threats to North Korea, and any major natural threat could further paralyze its economy alone.

The epidemic has already reduced trade and international food donations, and in a country where agriculture is heavily dependent on human labor and lacks industrial and medical infrastructure, analysts say. The forthcoming COVID-19 crisis could exacerbate food shortages.

“In North Korea, economic activity requires a lot of people to move, and you can’t expect trade or big aid from China,” said Lim Evil, a professor of North Korean studies at South Korea’s Kyungnam University. Chul said.

“But now farming activities can be reduced and distribution of fertilizers, raw materials and equipment will be difficult,” he added.

UN aid agencies and most other aid groups have fled the country during the border blockade, saying it is difficult to gauge how bad the situation is.

But South Korean lawmaker Ji Seung-ho, who defected from the North in 2006 and campaigned for North Korea’s human rights, said the virus was spreading rapidly due to a lack of a functioning medical system. Can

“The spread of COVID could severely damage the current farming season, and food security could be really serious this year and next,” he told a parliamentary session.

International sanctions on the North’s weapons programs limit its trade widely, and the country sealed its border in early 2020 to prevent the virus.

The reopening of border trade earlier this year sparked a wave of hope, only to be halted in April by the outbreak of COVID in China, which has recently imposed extremely strict sanctions on major cities such as Shanghai. Satellite images show that goods have been quarantined for weeks or months at land and seaport facilities.

Cheung Seung-chang, director of the North Korean Study Center at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, said the North could implement limited measures – as opposed to China’s larger ones – to ensure that certain activities continue. Levels referring to the low order to maintain lockdown in the county

“But over time, the lack of inter-regional mobility will hurt supply and production, and North Korea could eventually face a serious food crisis and such confusion,” Cheung said. Recently seen in China. “

North Korea’s Meteorological Agency has warned of a long dry spell this month, and state media on Thursday once again reported a “nationwide drought”.

In March, the United Nations urged Pyongyang to reopen its borders for aid workers and food imports, saying its deep isolation could starve many people.

The World Food Program estimates that even before the outbreak, 11 million people, or 40 percent of the population in the north, were malnourished and in need of assistance.

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