Nearly half of North Korea's total population suffer from undernourishment, a recent UN report said as the impoverished country grapples with worsening food shortages.
According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 released by the Food and Agriculture Organization on Monday, the prevalence of undernourishment in North Korea's total population came to 47.8 percent from 2016 to 2018.
Pak Pong-ju, vice chairman of North Korea's State Affairs Commission, inspects a site for farmland and tideland reclamation in southwestern North Korea in this photo provided by the Korean Central News Agency on July 16, 2019. (Yonhap)
The number is sharply up from the 2004-2006 period, where the comparable figure stood at 35.4 percent, and also up from 43.4 percent reported in the 2015-2017 period.
Only three countries -- Central African Republic, Zimbabwe and Haiti -- reported higher prevalence of undernourishment than North Korea in the latest report.
"After a decade of steady decline, the number of people suffering from hunger in the world has slowly increased for several years in a row," the report said.
In a separate report earlier this month, the FAO and the World Food Programme said North Korea's crop output last year hit the lowest level since 2008, with an estimated 10 million people, or about 40 percent of the total population, in urgent need of food.
Meanwhile, the prevalence of stunting in North Korean children aged under 5 dropped from 27.9 percent in 2012 to 19.1 percent last year. (Yonhap)