North Koreans are facing a “looming humanitarian disaster” according to the United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who told CNN, “We call for the international community to support the DPRK and help the DPRK in a respect of what is going to be a very difficult famine. … You may well see starvation on a massive scale unless there’s a massive relief effort in the weeks and months to come.”
The Asia deputy regional director for the U.N. World Food Programme, John Aylieff says. “It doesn’t take long for malnutrition to spike … So a short and fairly serious shock to the food system of the country can create quite serious implications for the population.”
State media, which usually paint only a rosy picture of life for North Korea’s citizens, have been publishing reports about what they call the worst drought in 100 years.
“Their decision to officially report the drought in their internal media is remarkable,” says Andrei Lankov, a professor at South Korea’s Kookmin University. “It’s a signal to both domestic and foreign audience that probably something will go bad later this year. So they will probably apply for foreign aid.”