Below is a press release issued by five aid agencies who warn of looming food shortages and acute malnutrition in North Korea. Press release below:
Washington, DC— Five aid agencies have found evidence of looming food shortages and acute malnutrition in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). A team of seven experts from Christian Friends of Korea, Global Resource Services, Mercy Corps, Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision recently finished a week-long needs assessment for food security in three North Korean provinces.
The team traveled to the provinces of North Pyongan, South Pyongan and Chagang over a week period from February 8-15.. They were given extraordinary access to conduct the assessment by the Korea-America Private Exchange Society (KAPES), an organization that liaises with US-based non-governmental agencies. The team visited 45 sites including hospitals, orphanages, citizens’ homes, cooperative farms and warehouses.
The visit was requested by the North Korean government, whose representatives informed the agencies there have been severe food shortages after poor summer weather and a bitter winter that significantly damaged crops. North Korean authorities estimate that 50-80 percent of the wheat and barley planted for spring harvest, as well as the potato seedlings, were killed by extreme cold in the past two months. In addition, rising global food prices have reportedly made it difficult for the DPRK to import sufficient food supplies.
The team observed evidence of malnutrition, food shortages, and people foraging for wild grasses and herbs. These trends are particularly prevalent among families that depend on the North Korea public food distribution system, and most severely impact children, the elderly, the chronically ill, and pregnant and nursing mothers. The team recommends that the DPRK be considered for emergency food assistance targeting these groups.
Each of the five aid agencies involved in the assessment has more than a decade of experience working in the DPRK. In 2008, the five collaborated on a food security assessment, as well as a subsequent program that delivered 71,000 metric tons of US Government-funded food aid to 900,000 hungry North Koreans in Chagang and North Pyongan provinces.
About Christian Friends of Korea
Christian Friends of Korea (CFK) is a Christian humanitarian and developmental aid ministry that has been working since 1995 to bring hope and healing to the people of North Korea. Its projects include the provision of food and agricultural assistance, renovation of hospitals and rest homes, clean water projects, delivery of medical equipment and supplies, and technical exchange, while building trust and relationships. For more information, please visit www.cfk.org.
About Global Resource Services
Global Resource Services is dedicated to going beyond charity to find real solutions to complex global crisis where peace and security are in jeopardy. Our mission is driven by an end vision of reconciliation. Relationships, respect and reconciliation are the common threads that empower our cause. GRS have been working for human needs in DPRK over 13 years. For more information, please visit, www.grsworld.org.
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps helps people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve. Driven by local needs, our programs provide communities in the world’s toughest places with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives. Our worldwide team in 36 countries is improving the lives of 19 million people. For more information, see mercycorps.org.
About Samaritan’s Purse
Samaritan’s Purse provides immediate, no-red-tape response to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations—especially in locations where few others are working. The organization is working in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, natural disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. For more information, please visit www.samaritanspurse.org.
About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org.
- Summary of Food Security Assessment by US NGOs (CanKor.ca)
- US groups report alarming malnutrition in NKorea (Korea Herald)
- U.S. aid groups urge food for North Koreans after survey (reuters.com)
- Warning on N Korea food shortages (bbc.co.uk)