Severe Drought Blights N.Korea

North Korea is suffering such a serious drought that soldiers have been mobilized to irrigate fields and paddies.

In North Pyongan Province alone, "hundreds of thousands of functionaries and workers are waging a battle in cooperation with soldiers to irrigate fields and paddies every day," the official Rodong Sinmun daily wrote Saturday.

The state-run [North] Korean Central News Agency carried pictures of farmers at a cooperative farm in Pyongyang bringing water in buckets or plastic bottles and pouring it over parched paddies.

KCNA called this year's drought the "worst one since 2001." The regime takes the recent drought all the more seriously because in his New Year's address leader Kim Jong-un cited agriculture as a "main target" of his economic projects and called for increasing agricultural production.

The Rodong Sinmun called overcoming the drought "not simply a practical issue but an important task to fulfill the party's lofty intentions."

Meanwhile, the daily apostrophized Kim the "great mother" rather than "father" in hailing a bumper catch from fishing grounds in the West Sea. "It was a miracle worked neither by scientific discovery nor by physical force nor by the coincidence of history, but by the great mother Kim Jong-un's love for the people," it gushed.

The unusual moniker seems aimed at emphasizing Kim's protective instincts.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jun. 23, 2014 09:28 KST