Devastating Food Shortage Cripples North Korea

April 28, 2011

It is far too easy to forget as we celebrate the joys of food and cooking that many others in this world have much less to eat. The situation has reached a crisis point in North Korea where an independent U.S. relief organization (which was given access to the country in February) reports that many citizens will run out of food by June.

Samaritan's Purse believes that large swaths of the population will suffer and starve this year if no food aid arrives. Even if the assistance were approved today, no food would likely reach the starving people for three months. The organization found that a harsh winter had devastated crops and reduced the harvest by a half. Some people were already eating grass, leaves and tree bark.

Relief groups would like to provide between 160,000 and 170,000 tons of food assistance to the country. The situation is complicated though. Hundreds of thousands of North Korean people died in 1990s famines when the country kicked out relief organizations (the country relies on self-sufficiency), but the United States fears food aid will be hoarded by the wealthy of North Korea and saved for next year's celebration of the 100th birthday of the regime's founder Kim Il-Sung.

Photo by knittymarie