22 million face food shortages


Geneva - The UN food agency yesterday reported at least 50 dead or missing in floods which aid agencies say have wrought havoc on North Korea's maize crops and rice fields.

The floods at the end of August hit seven provinces, the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a damage assessment based on an inspection last week by UN relief agencies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The crop damage could worsen the plight of a population of 22 million already suffering from food shortages triggered by floods in 1995 and 1996, and a record drought last year.

The WFP yesterday issued an urgent appeal for $20.5 million in food aid for droughtstricken Cuba. The El Nino-related drought, the worst in 10 years, has affected 615,000 people, it said.