North Korea says it is suffering worst drought in decades

North Korea has said it is suffering its worst drought in nearly four decades amid reports of severe food shortages.

The official Korean Central News Agency said an average of 54.4 millimeters (2.1 inches) of rain fell throughout the country in the first five months of this year. It said that is the lowest level since 1982, when North Korea received 51.2 millimeters (2 inches) of rain on average during the same period.

The report came on Wednesday after UN food agencies said in a joint assessment earlier that about 10 million people in North Korea were facing 'severe food shortages' after the country had one of the worst harvests in a decade.

In February, North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, issued an unusual appeal for urgent food assistance.

North Korean officials have blamed the food shortage on bad weather and international economic sanctions that were toughened after the country conducted a series of high-profile nuclear and missile tests in recent years.