South Korea: Soldiers battle worst drought in 90 years : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

south korea

Soldiers battle worst drought in 90 years

Associated Press KOYANG, South Korea -- Soldiers put down guns and picked up buckets and water hoses Tuesday to fight a new enemy: drought.

Facing its worst dry spell in 90 years - and a threat to its staple food, rice - South Korea mobilized a fifth of its total military force to farms. The 130,000 troops were dispatched to 90 hard-hit regions armed with drilling machines, trucks, excavators and other equipment to dig wells or draw water from reservoirs.

"It's like pouring water into a bottomless pot," said Warrant Officer Oh Kwang-jei, supervising 60 soldiers watering a dry paddy. "But we will make this land wet again and fit to raise the rice."

Since March, South Korea has had a nationwide average of only 3.7 inches of rain, less than one-third the usual 11.4 inches for that period.

The drought, which is expected to last another week, hit during the crucial rice-transplanting season that began in May and usually ends in June. A rice paddy must be submerged under an inch of water to support young rice.

North Korea, too, is suffering from a protracted dry spell that has decimated the harvest.

-- Martin Thompson (, June 13, 2001


Add to this, CA rice farmers are finding it more profitable to fallow some of their land and sell the water to farmers further south in the state, which also has a drought. The world price has been so poor that it's not worth it to grow. Korea could also be hit by more expensive imports, now.

-- Margaret J (, June 14, 2001.

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