North Korean media on Thursday urged citizens to mobilize all efforts into securing water supplies, warning of a “race against time” amid a major fall in average precipitation.
In a front-page commentary, the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), said the average precipitation across the country between December and January had been 3.6 millimeter.
This, the newspaper said, was “far below” previous years, and was caused by a decrease in snowfall.
“Securing more water and using it in an effective manner is a very significant and pressing task for various sectors of the people’s economy, including agriculture,” the Rodong said in a Korean-language commentary.
Securing water resources is “very important” in “dramatically increasing agricultural output,” it continued, citing remarks by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February 2014.
“Now is not the time to wait for snow and rain while looking up to the sky. Securing water is a grave matter, which is a race against time,” the Rodong said on Wednesday.
In the commentary, the North Korean daily newspaper urged all officials and Party members to be “deeply aware of the importance of resolving the problem of water availability.”
“All efforts should be mobilized and concentrated on the struggle to secure water resources,” the Rodong said, urging farming areas to take measures including the construction of reservoirs, retention basics, and wells.
The Rodong repeatedly emphasized the success of farming depends on securing the water supply, explaining that the country would not be able plant seeds or transplant rice without it.
“The experience of last year’s farming clearly demonstrated it,” the North Korean newspaper said, adding that Cooperative Farms which had enough water had been able to yield a rich crop in spite of “adverse weather conditions” like heatwaves and drought.
Other Cooperative Farms which were also provided with “sufficient fertilizer” but failed to secure water, the report added, could not produce a decent crop.
Last August saw Pyongyang urge citizens to engage in a “battle” to prevent damage by high temperatures and drought amid a record-breaking heatwave on the peninsula.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) that same month released CHF 213,474 in emergency funding to aid North Koreans hit by the unusually hot weather.
Earlier this month, the IFRC announced that its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) would see an “extraordinary extension of three months,” saying the extra time would allow the organization to supply family tents, onion tanks, and water hoses to the DPRK.
Natural hazards including flooding and droughts have in the past reportedly exacerbated chronic malnutrition and public health issues in North Korea, according to a report issued by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in 2017.
Thursday’s commentary saw the Rodong urge officials and workers in the farming sector to “boldly set a high standard to secure more water” and “actively find sources of water” through on-site inspections.
The newspaper stressed that they should secure “one more drop of water with the solid viewpoint and stance that the project of securing water… is the campaign of upholding the idea of the Party and safeguarding the policy of the Party.”
By “saving water… to the utmost,” the country could avoid water shortages and drought damage in the coming year, it continued.
“The Cabinet and relevant ministries and national institutions must take the responsibility… the project of securing water is not only the fight against nature but also a political struggle to implement the Party’s line and policies.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: DPRK Today
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