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Over 60% of N. Koreans face food insecurity amid global pandemic: US report

More than 60 percent of North Korea's population is facing food insecurity as the global coronavirus pandemic has undercut food supplies in the impoverished country, a US Department of Agriculture report showed Thursday.

According to the report by the department's Economic Research Service, 63.1 percent or 16.2 million people in North Korea suffered food insecurity in 2020.

Food insecurity occurs when people fall short of the nutritional target of 2,100 kilocalories per day.

The 2020 figure for the North was higher than 58.9 percent estimated in a report compiled in August for the country and also its pre-pandemic level of 59.2 percent, the report showed.

The ratio also marked the third highest among Asian countries surveyed following Yemen with 92 percent and Afghanistan with 67.3 percent.

North Korea is known for chronic food shortages, which appear to have been aggravated in recent years due to extreme weather conditions and global sanctions.

The coronavirus pandemic might have added to the strain by hampering its imports of key farming materials. (Yonhap)