North Korea is preparing to face the consequences of one of their worst harvests in nearly a decade.
Over 10 million people will suffer from food shortages before the next harvest, as reported by the Associated Press.
The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization partnered with the World Food Programme to conduct an investigation into the causes, anticipated effects and severity of the problem for this East Asian country.
Following this joint investigation, it was concluded that this scarcity is in part due to “dry spells, heat waves, and flooding.” These environmental contributors, including extreme heat and cold, cut food production by one-fifth, according to their report.
International sanctions aimed at Kim Jong Un contributed to a lack of fuel and fertilizers — two necessary components for the nation’s farmers, partially inhibiting a successful harvest.
These sanctions were initially implemented by nations such as the U.S. in an effort to discourage Kim Jong Un’s further development of the nuclear program. But as the international community is just beginning to learn, these sanctions can result in a variety of unintended secondary consequences.
The food insecurity situation will deteriorate as the year progresses. But rationing of food has already been implemented, as the nation attempts to postpone the onset of a national crisis. Now, each person is limited to less than 11 ounces of food per day, according to the U.N.
Young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women are expected to be affected the most, as they are the most susceptible to malnutrition, the FAO reported. In particular, communities that already struggle with dietary diversity are going to be hit the hardest as less and less food becomes available.
The U.N. projects that the North Korean government will be forced to implement a more severe rationing program as the year progresses, and the situation deteriorates.