GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

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North Korea Today No. 141

Research Institute for North Korean Society
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng


North Korea Today 141st Edition June 2008

“Research Institute for North Korean Society of Good Friends, in order to bring news of the food crisis in North Korea more accurately and quickly, will increase its e-newsletter frequency to more than one issue per week. As such, the release dates might shift. Thank you for your understanding and attention to this looming crisis. We at Good Friends hope to be a bridge between the North Korean people and the world.”
“Get everything out, Survive ‘til the end of the Month”
100g Powdered Maize divided between the Family of Four
Absenteeism Rampant Among Orchard Workers
Workers at Kangsuh County Iron Mill Survive On One Porridge Bowl a Day
Food Being Smuggled In Everyday in Small Amounts
Chinese Government Grants an Additional 100,000 MT Permit To Import Food


“Get everything out, Survive ‘til the end of the Month”
The government emphasized that the party officials need to prevent famine and death by starvation from happening since food will come from the United States at the end of June. The government is pushing all the party officials to use all ways and means to prevent famine, that the officials would need to put their utmost efforts to survive until the end of the month of June. It also warned the local officials that they would not be able to prevent the punishment once the famine took place in their area.

100g Powdered Maize Divided Between the Family of Four
Households in Collective Farm in the North Pyongan Province are the destitution itself. Along with the North and South Hwanghae province, most of farmers and their family have either gone out to relations homes to seek for food. Otherwise, they are just lying on the bed, unable to move, since they have not been able to eat. Kim Hyuk-chul (49yrs) of the Cooperative farm in the Chulsan Town says his family are only eating just one meal a day – even to share the porridge with 100g of maize meal between the family of four. They are trying to add more grass and water to make more, but he says, ‘it is only enough for a person to gargle on it, and didn’t even feel like I ate anything at all’.

Absenteeism Rampant Among Orchard Workers
Although the orchard farms in South Hwanghae Province were moved to the central Fruit-Production administration(과수총국) from Ministry of People’s Armed Forces, they still didn’t receive regular rations for the last two years. Last year’s fruit harvest suffered greatly because of the floods. This meant that the food shortages among orchard workers were as bad as the one affecting regular farm workers. This is leading to orchard workers not coming to work, delaying essential tasks such as pruning and spraying pesticides. The managers of orchard farms lament the prospects of the upcoming harvest already. They are caught in a quandary because they need the workers to work the farms yet can’t ask them to come in without giving them any food. The managers have asked for food from higher-up’s but all they heard was an instruction to be self-sufficient.

Workers at Kangsuh County Iron Mill Survive On One Porridge Bowl a Day
The workers in Kangsuh County Iron Mill in South Pyongan Province haven’t received any food for a long time and are therefore surviving on a bowl of runny porridge a day. It’s not difficult to witness strength-less workers laying about not able to go to work.

Food Being Smuggled In Everyday in Small Amounts
In late May, 300 MT of food was smuggled in through Port Nampo. And every day in the border region, anywhere from 10~30 MT of food are smuggled in. They are mostly brought in by external affairs workers especially sent out to procure food by individual cities and counties. Sinuiju is also seeing smuggling of food; besides corn, rice, and flours, she is also seeing nutrition powder, dry noodles, and ramen being smuggled in. Guards on the Chinese border side will escort the food in when you give them 700-800 yuan. Therefore, food is being smuggled in under the willful ignorance of the Chinese authorities.

Chinese Government Grants an Additional 100,000 MT Permit To Import Food
Last April, North Korea government asked the Chinese to grant it a 150,000 MT food import license, but only received permission to import 50,000 MT of food. After repeated and strong requests by the North Korean government, the Chinese agreed to grant import licenses for the rest of 100,000 MT of food. Accordingly, people on both sides of the border are now busy trying to arrange the import of food into North Korea. It’s likely that food prices will fall when with increased import but it still remains to be seen exactly how much more food would actually come in.

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