Democratic People's Republic of Korea, August 2007
WFP Assessment mission to Sogon, one of North Korea's flood affected areas in the south of the country. Extensive scenes of flooding were witnessed, with widespread inundation of arable lands which, creates concerns as regards the long-term food implications. The government declared that the Kangwon province is one of the areas that is worst affected. There is severe damage throughout the southern half of the country , across to the east. The southern part of the country is the main food-producing area. As you go further north it is more mountainous and hence their ability to produce is limited. The area that has been inundated is part of the 'rice bowl'. This creates additional concerns as to what impact that may have on the food security situation.
Bridges have been knocked down and roads washed away. The infrastructure is typically old and anything that damages it further is going to have implications.
The landscape in the southern area is a combination of flatlands with quite dramatic mountains, there are fields with hills and mountains shooting up. There are small villages and co-operative farms. These are very rudimentary houses - typically handmade.People may have a small plot in the front of the house in which they try to grow their own vegetables - potatoes, beans, carrots, tomatoes - they are then surrounded by more extensive farmlands which have been damaged by flooding. This is the period of pollination and, hence, because the rice is underwater during this period, it won't germinate and hence won't produce for the harvest due in September-October.