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Rome, April 2001
As April comes to an end the wheat and barley crops are well established and growing well. There are reportedly more fertilisers available this year and agricultural experts working on the ground report that the soil is relatively moist and there is still sufficient water for irrigation.
The following article is an exclusive e-mail interview with David Morton (54), the World Food Program(WFP) representative in North Korea. Through access provided to international organizations by the Pyongyang government, Chosun Ilbo was able to conduct a surprising unrestricted interview with David Morton in North Korea. David Mortons UNDP e-mail address was used to facilitate communication between the two parties. This is the first time that an e-mail interview has been conducted between Seoul and Pyongyang.
This report includes:
A decade after loss of Soviet support, frail economy and bad weather bring shortages.
By Robert Marquand Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
North Korea, stricken by years of near famine, faces another populationwide food crisis. Food staples were depleted by the end of January after a poor fall harvest and the worst winter in North Asia in 50 years, said Pyongyang-based UN aid officials in Beijing yesterday.
Recent improvements in the political climate of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea have not yet had a significant impact on the country's humanitarian situation, which is still critical following a prolonged period of economic decline and a series of natural disasters, the United Nations said today.
Pyongyang, 3 April 2001
OFFICE OF THE UN RESIDENT AND HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR
The expected harvest this year risks being seriously affected by the current lack of fertilisers, which could have grave consequences for the food security situation in DPRK, unless urgent additional assistance is provided by the international community.
Concern has worked in DPR Korea since 1997. This followed an official request for assistance, after a series of natural disasters - famines, floods and droughts - hit the Korean peninsula in the mid 1990s.