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SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea remains one of the 34 countries in the world that require external assistance to properly feed their people, a media report said Friday.
The Voice of America said the October issue of Crop Prospects and Food Situation by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that there will be some 2.8 million "vulnerable" people in the communist country needing assistance until this year's fall harvest.
The Washington-based media outlet said that judging by official estimates tallied by the United Nations organization, Pyongyang's spring cereal harvest for 2013, mainly winter, wheat and barley, fell shy of the initial forecast, and that this is the main reason for the current shortage.
The country had reported improved harvests in the fall of 2012.
The U.N. agency also said people in the country are experiencing "widespread lack of access" to food caused in part by past floods.
The latest findings added that overall conditions in the North have not changed vis-a-vis July when the last food situation report was released.
At the time, the North was the only country in East Asia to be placed on the list requiring external aid. Others on the list of the 34 countries were in Africa and Central Asia.
The FAO, meanwhile, estimated that the North has been able to secure 328,000 tons of various grain from November of 2012 to early last month. This is equal to 65 percent of the 507,000 tons of grain Pyongyang needs to properly feed its population.
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