Asia

North Korea Battles Drought by Reducing School Hours, Forcing Students to Water Crops

The North Korean government has been forced to cut school hours in an effort to get students to work on watering farmland affected by a severe drought.

Since May, high school and college students in the northern part of the country have been required to water the fields from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. each day, a North Korean source told Radio Free Asia.

“Their classes now begin from 11 a.m.,” he said, but added that the drought “cannot be fought with simple manpower,” and needed state resources.

The public is reportedly frustrated at Kim Jong Un’s missile tests, which doesn’t help solve the problems caused by drought.

“Meanwhile, Kim Jung Un has fired a number of missiles while the people were mobilized and physically suffered to water the crops,” the source said, referring to at least five confirmed missile tests conducted by the regime between May 13 and June 23.

“The people are resentful of his actions and have expressed their frustrations by saying, ‘If there is money to fire missiles, it could have been used to combat more than ten droughts,’” he went on.

According to the Telegraph, last week the state-controlled paper Rodong Sinmun reported that North Korean authorities were involved in “prevention battles” after the country had been hit by what is being referred to as an “abysmal” drought.

About 1,300 sprinklers and 2,100 portable water pumps were dispatched from at least three major reservoirs in South Hwanghae Province and next to Pyongyang airport.

In June, the drought was used as an “excuse” to restrict movement and force marketplaces to close early, with stores being allowed to stay open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., UPI reported.

“People are facing difficulties in maintaining their livelihood,” a source in North Korea’s Chagang Province said.

Image via Flickr / stephan (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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