Verne Strickland Blogmaster
NEWSMAX.COM March 28, 2011
North Korea’s government food distribution system will run out of supplies in May and place a quarter of the nation’s citizens at risk of starvation, according to the U.N. World Food Program.
Dire reports about food shortages in the communist country are not uncommon, but the current situation is worse than in recent years, the agency warns.
Floods and extreme cold this winter have devastated crops and an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has ravaged North Korea’s livestock, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Vulnerable members of society are currently facing increasing shocks to their daily coping strategies, leaving them on a knife edge,” the WFP said in a statement.
Daily rations in the country have reportedly been reduced to 360 grams a day. At one hospital visited by WFP staffers, 136 children were being treated for malnutrition and 11 were in such poor condition that they were able to take only intravenous fluids and high-nutrition biscuits, none of which were available.
The United States and other nations are wary about rushing to North Korea’s aid because previous food donations have been re-directed by dictator Kim Jong Il’s regime away from ordinary citizens to the nation’s military and elite, the Journal noted.
The WFP has proposed sending 297,000 tons of cereal products to North Korea. But that assistance would amount to only about 5 percent of the 5.5 million tons of rice and cereal grains North Korea needs to produce to feed its 24 million residents each year.
Newsmax reported in February that North Korea had ordered its embassies and diplomatic offices around the world to issue new appeals for food aid.
An estimated 1 million North Koreans died in a famine in the early and mid-1990s.