Top of the Morning: Epic Drought in the Koreas; Lesotho Facing Food Crisis; Sec Council to Release M23 Report;

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

Security Council to Release Report Accusing Rwanda of Fueling DRC Rebellion

There’s been much drama over whether or not the Security Council would release the secret annex to a report that all but accuses the Rwandan government of supporting mutineers in the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which are rampaging communities in eastern DRC. Well, it looks like the report will be released after all. Rwanda is very displeased. “The evidence contained in an addendum to a recent report by U.N. experts is the strongest yet to indicate high-level support within President Paul Kagame’s government for the so-called M23 rebellion, whose stand-off with Congolese forces has caused thousands to flee their homes in the east of the country. M23 is the name of a group of several hundred soldiers from the Congolese army that have rallied behind Bosco Ntaganda, a mutinous army general with past links to Rwanda who is sought for arrest by the Democratic Republic of Congo and wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges..Reuters obtained on Tuesday a copy of a more extensive 43-page document, the one the 15-nation council has agreed to release. Speaking on condition of anonymity, diplomats said it might take a few days for it to appear on the council’s Congo sanctions committee website. (Reuters…and Foreign Policy has an exclusive look at the document that is excerpted here:

Korean Peninsula Faces Epic Drought

They can deal with water shortages in the South, but a terrible drought in the Koreas will make a dire humanitarian situation in the north even more dangerous. “Large parts of the Korean peninsula are battling the worst regional water shortages in more than a century, with reports of North Korean soldiers hand-carrying water to irrigate parched farmland, and 80 percent of the South facing extreme drought. North Korean news reports on Tuesday said more than 20,000 hectares of cropland have been destroyed in Hwanghae province alone, and said regional water reservoirs are empty. In a rare public acknowledgement, the Korean Central News Agency said farming “has been severely affected by the devastating drought.” It also acknowledged the deployment of “servicepersons, officials of ministries and national institutions, and other people,” in a push to stem the crisis. In Seoul, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik warned of looming price hikes for produce and cuts in water supplies. Since April, the capital has received only 7 percent of the rainfall it experienced during the same period last year. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) quotes North Korean officials as saying about 90 percent of non-paddy cultivated areas in five key provinces have been hit hardest by weeks of dry, hot weather.” (VOA

Lesotho’s Coming Food Crisis

Things look bad in Lesotho where an empty harvest season portends serious food security problems in the near future. “Heavy rains and flooding cut Lesotho’s maize production by nearly half during the 2010-11 farming season, causing the price of maize meal to increase by 24 percent between March 2011 and March 2012 and putting a heavy strain on the 40 percent of the population already living in extreme poverty.  The 2011-12 season began with a prolonged period of drought which caused many small-scale farmers not to plant at all rather than gamble scarce resources on crops that would be vulnerable to frost.  As a result, what should be a time of plenty has become an extension of the pre-harvest lean season for many. The precise number in need of humanitarian assistance will only become clear when the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) completes its annual food security and vulnerability assessment at the end of June, but a crop forecast by the Bureau of Statistics has already estimated major declines in both total area planted and yields.”   (IRIN