Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Drought Snapshot (August 2015)

Originally published



A long period of abnormally dry weather has caused drought in DPR Korea (DPRK) affecting agricultural production, reducing access to water and leading to a deterioration of health, nutrition and sanitary conditions.

18 million affected in PDS-dependent households who are vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition.

According to official meteorological data, all provinces received below average rainfall, particularly in May and June this year.

Since late July, most of DPRK saw moderate rainfall raising the cumulative rainfall total for 20151 . However, single rain events will not break the drought, only providing short-term relief. Torrential rain may provide additional benefits, but may also have adverse impacts. Most of the rain will run off rather than soak into the ground and flooding may result2 . This happened during rains in August, affecting several provinces.


To significantly improve drought conditions, more rain is required over several months to return conditions to within the normal range. According to the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, DPRK should expect near normal rainfall for the rest of 2015. However, it is unclear how much this will mitigate the initial damage crops suffered as a result of insufficient water during planting.

36% received to address total humanitarian needs in DPRK as of August 2015.


The full impact of the drought will not be clear until after the main crop harvest (Sep/Oct). FAO tentatively forecasts rice production to be 12% below 20143 . UN agencies are providing assistance to 1.3 million people in nutrition and WASH, in addition to their normal humanitarian programmes. In 2015, UN agencies are requesting $117 million to address needs in DRPK.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.