Democratic People's Republic of Korea - Economy - Famine

Famine

Main article: North Korean famine

In the 1990s North Korea faced significant economic disruptions, including a series of natural disasters, economic mismanagement and serious resource shortages after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. These resulted in a shortfall of staple grain output of more than 1 million tons from what the country needs to meet internationally accepted minimum dietary requirements. The North Korean famine known as the "Arduous March" resulted in the deaths of between 300,000 and 800,000 North Koreans per year during the three-year famine, peaking in 1997. The deaths were most likely caused by famine-related illnesses such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea rather than starvation.

In 2006, Amnesty International reported that a national nutrition survey conducted by the North Korean government, the World Food Programme, and UNICEF found that 7% of children were severely malnourished; 37% were chronically malnourished; 23.4% were underweight; and one in three mothers was malnourished and anaemic as the result of the lingering effect of the famine. The inflation caused by some of the 2002 economic reforms, including the Songun or "Military-first" policy, was cited for creating the increased price of basic foods.

The history of Japanese assistance to North Korea has been marked with challenges; from a large pro-Pyongyang community of Koreans in Japan to public outrage over the 1998 North Korean missile launch and revelations regarding the abduction of Japanese citizens. In June 1995 an agreement was reached that the two countries would act jointly. South Korea would provide 150,000 MT of grain in unmarked bags, and Japan would provide 150,000 MT gratis and another 150,000 MT on concessional terms. In October 1995 and January 1996, North Korea again approached Japan for assistance. On these two occasions, both of which came at crucial moments in the evolution of the famine, opposition from both South Korea and domestic political sources quashed the deals.

Beginning in 1997, the U.S. began shipping food aid to North Korea through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to combat the famine. Shipments peaked in 1999 at nearly 700,000 tons making the U.S. the largest foreign aid donor to the country at the time. Under the Bush Administration, aid was drastically reduced year after year from 350,000 tons in 2001 to 40,000 in 2004. The Bush Administration took criticism for using "food as a weapon" during talks over the North's nuclear weapons program, but insisted the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) criteria were the same for all countries and the situation in North Korea had "improved significantly since its collapse in the mid-1990s." Agricultural production had increased from about 2.7 million metric tons in 1997 to 4.2 million metric tons in 2004.

In 2013, there were reports of famine returning to parts of North Korea and driving some to cannibalism, with the claims that one man dug up his grandchild's corpse to eat and another boiled his child and ate the flesh. Another man was allegedly executed after murdering his two children for food. However, the World Food Program reported malnutrition and food shortages, but not famine.

Read more about this topic:  Democratic People's Republic Of Korea, Economy

Other articles related to "famine":

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Famous quotes containing the word famine:

    He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no harm shall touch you. In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes. At destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the wild animals of the earth. For you shall be in league with the stones of the field, and the wild animals shall be at peace with you.
    Bible: Hebrew, Job 5:19-23.

    They can rule the world while they can persuade us
    our pain belongs in some order.
    Is death by famine worse than death by suicide,
    than a life of famine and suicide ... ?
    Adrienne Rich (b. 1929)

    I knew the poor,
    I knew the hideous death they die,
    when famine lays its bleak hand on the door;
    I knew the rich,
    sated with merriment,
    who yet are sad.
    Hilda Doolittle (1886–1961)