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North Korea Food Shortage

North Korea continues to face a food shortage according to Voice of America and The Los Angeles Times.

The LA Times says that source of the problem is inflation, strained relations with neighboring countries and flooding in previous years.

The LA Times said that though the food shortage in North Korea is a problem, it is not at the level of emergency that the country faced in 1990s. At that time the problem was called a famine. But today people in North Korea are simply showing listlessness.

“Workers are unable to put in full days and take longer to complete tasks -- which has implications for the success of the early and main harvests,� said a group of five U.S. humanitarian agencies in a summer assessment of the food situation. (LA Times)

However, there are also some signs that point to problems that were part of the famine in the 1990s such as many adults skipping lunch. More than 70 percent of households in a survey by the U.N. World Food Program of 375 households were found to be eating weeds and grasses as part of their diet said the LA Times.

Voices of America said that the picture of the food shortage is getting worse. Jean-Pierre de Margerie, World Food Program country director, said that rising world costs of grains and rice together with the flooding of the region had caused the problems of the country.

“And some areas - those most affected by the crisis - are sliding to level four, which is a level of humanitarian emergency,� Margerie said. (VOA)

Margerie’s organization, World Food Program, has received much more cooperative relations from North Korea this time, and that are having an easier time monitoring food distribution that previous years says the Voices of America.

Other factors that have affected the food shortage including the farmers using out-of-date farming requirement, not having enough fuel to run the equipment they do have, and lack of fertilizer says VOA.

North Korea currently is not on good terms with South Korea, and due to the strained relationship South Korea has not provided any food or fertilizer to their northern neighbor VOA said.

United States is helping, and any day now a US ship with 27,000 tons of corn and soy is due to arrive to North Korea.