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North Korea Today No. 196

RESEARCH INSTITUTE FOR NORTH KOREAN SOCIETY
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng
No. 196 August 2008

Yeecheon County, Kangwon Province, “This year we must distribute to the farmers”
More Hills Means Bigger Difficulty in Kangwon Province
Pyongyang Holds a Discussion-Lecture Regarding the Food Situation
North Hamgyong Holds Discussion Regarding Farming Progress in the Provincial Party Member’s Meeting
Harvest Yield, North Hamgyong Little Better But South Hamgyong Is Of Concern
Sinuiju Already Has Many Households with No Food
Haeju Nursing Home, 120g of Corn Porridge Delivered Daily to Seniors
Ontan-gu in Onsung County, People Barely Survive On Potatoes


Yeecheon County, Kangwon Province, “This year we must distribute to the farmers”
On August 2 of last year, heavy rainfall devastated the farmlands of Songjeong-ri and other villages, Yeecheon County of Kangwon Province. Half of Yeecheon County’s farmlands were damaged, which erases hopes of any harvests in the fall. The farmers of this land cries out: “We weren’t able to harvest either last year due to flood damages and we don’t harvest again this year. If no food support comes to us, we are hopeless. Nobody seems to be able to survive until next year.”

The members in farmland committee are also worried. One member says, “We weren’t able to distribute food for support to the farmers last year and thus food crisis came earlier this year. When people have no food, they do not want to come to work. Therefore, we had to use all measures necessary to make them work. Few days ago, our committee had a discussion and concluded that we must take extra care on the places with less damages and at least distribute 8months worth of food to each farmers this year so they can farm again next year.

This discussion’s conclusion was that “if farmers don’t receive food distribution from us, nobody has right to force them to work. How can anyone force hungry and ill farmers to the workplace? Therefore, after the discussion, the committee ordered the directors of each work areas to “put all the efforts in making sure that absolutely no food gets thrown away carelessly”


More Hills Means Bigger Difficulty in Kangwon Province
There are not many differences in food situations of between the county in Kangwon Province, but it gets worse as more hills there are in the county. Gosan, Anbyon, Tongchun, and Bupdong Counties are the ones in serious situations.

Pyongyang Holds a Discussion-Lecture Regarding the Food Situation
Last July 26, lectures were held for the workers and the members of Democratic Women’s Union(녀맹) in Pyongyang, South Pyongan, South Hwanghae, and North Hwanghae. “Food crisis is not just our crisis; it is a global crisis. Countries like U.S. make oils out of corns, which shortens global food supply as result. Furthermore, natural disasters disturbed production yield in some countries that were expected to do well. Thus, we must acknowledge these facts and support our villages. In difficult time like this, we must save as much pieces of grain yields as we can and try to be self-dependent. Not getting food support or distribution should not be the reason to skip works at factories. Let’s all have strong sense of responsibilities.”

North Hamgyong Holds Discussion Regarding Farming Progress in the Provincial Party Member’s Meeting
Last July 21st, a discussion was held in the Provincial Party Member’s meeting of North Hamgyong. The main topic of this discussion was on the progress of current farming; how much of Heungnam fertilizer, which was provided to them; whether there were any areas that did not receive fertilizers; if so, what were the sizes of areas that did not receive Heungnam fertilizers. Besides these issues, disputes regarding town clean-up project (꾸리기사업) were discussed before land decisions (국토판정).

The following lists were mainly discussed at the meeting.
1. People with homes near railroads are going to be relocated in new dwellings.
2. Until July 27, laborers reported to work on the construction of apartment buildings in Hoeryong City. However, since then the laborers have been relocated to work on a new project involving building roads for tourist development in Mt. Baekdu.
3. People were encouraged to maintain roads and landscaping in the cities and in smaller counties.
4. People were encouraged to support he homeless shelters (꽃제비 구제소).
5. People were asked to support the education system, especially in these difficult times.
6. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK, people should be proud of social and physical accomplishments.

On other note, responsible party secretaries or chairman of cities and counties which did not receive good rankings on land decisions should resign and be criticized for his failures. For this reason, each city and county was busy doing last-minute checkups on residence houses and towns until July 28 and received inspection from the Provincial party on the next day.

Harvest Yield, North Hamgyong Little Better But South Hamgyong Is Of Concern
This years yield in North Hamgyong is predicted to be little better than last year. Up to this point in August, Chungjin City and Hoeryong City’s farming are doing relatively well. Although this year’s fertilizer came in little late, Heukbosan fertilizer (흙보산비료)[1]) was there as alternatives and weather wasn’t that bad either in most of the areas. However, Gimchaek City is having a difficult year in its corn farming due to lack of rainfalls in April and May and warm weathers. Furthermore, sudden hailstones in May forced them to plant beans again because most of the corn trees were ripped down. In Southern Hamgyong, severe drought has caused farmlands to crack apart and left many farmers in despair.

Sinuiju Already Has Many Households with No Food
In Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, this year’s new grain has already depleted leaving people to struggle to survive on just soups once again. Consequently, divorce and suicide rates have gone up. In early August, one woman committed suicide after struggling to live, leaving behind a little sister. Another woman in the same neighborhood was finally able to take her youngest daughter, who is suffering from malignant lymphoma, to the hospital because her friends collected money to help her. Unfortunately, doctors told her it was too late. Neighbors shared their sympathy by saying “We may live because we can’t die. However, this is too harsh to let the little girl to die first. We feel sad just by being around this situation. How would the mother feel?”

Haeju Nursing Home, 120g of Corn Porridge Delivered Daily to Seniors
Grain Administration Department (량정부) of the People’s Committee in Haeju City of South Hwanghae has made a rule to make each senior’s share of food to be 150g per day. However, even this little amount was robbed by the workers on the rear side, making real distribution of food to each senior in nursing home (양로원) to become mere 120g. Porridge made of crushed maize (짝옥수수) is all a senior eats for one meal. Such situation makes seniors want to run away from the their asylums like the homeless children (꽃제비) escaping from their asylums. Therefore, asylums place guards so that seniors cannot escape. Some seniors with money lobby for more food, but it is a rare case.

Ontan-gu in Onsung County, People Barely Survive On Potatoes
Most of the residents in Ontan-gu, Onsung County of Northern Hamgyong are living on potatoes. One neighborhood unit (인민반), for example, has only two or three households that eat corns. Many lecture being continued to be held to encourage people. “Let’s overcome the suffering and follow those who overcame. The suffering will pass by and we will surely construct a strong nation under our great general’s leadership. Let’s overcome every obstacles by holding our faith of revolution together like all the leaders that was hidden or appeared during the march of sufferings”

[1]) A fertilizer made by North Korea, it contains an ingredient used to restore the soil
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