Mrs. Kang Un-hui (alias) of Pyongsung city in South Pyongan Province has not so far had to worry about food thanks to her husband, who is a police officer. However, now only her husband gets a food ration. It has been several months since the food ration ended for the three other family members. Even so, they are not starving, but the quality of their meals has fallen sharply. Long ago, they only ate steamed rice. Last year, their meals were half corn and half rice. This year they struggle to be able to mix a handful of rice into the corn meal.
Kangryung County in South Hwanghae Province suffered a landslide as a result of the torrential five-hour downpour on July 30 of last year, and dozens of people lost their lives. For every farm, many family members could not find the body of the deceased, and some flood victims could not find a proper place to live, so they ended up living like kkotjebies (the homeless). The landslide occurred so fast that they could not react, and the damage was too much. Many areas have not been repaired yet since all the river banks, railroads, and roads were destroyed, not to mention the inundated farmland and the destruction of residential houses.
Pollock has traditionally been the most well known fish in North Korea, and has become a popular export item. However, it is now a fish that is imported from China. Sinpo Port, South Hamgyoung Province, has many warehouses to keep caught Pollock, but now those warehouses are empty. A worker in Sinpo Port said, “not much Pollock catching was done due to a lack of gas for fishing boats.” He continued, even if the Pollock were kept in a cold warehouse, the electricity supply to the warehouses is unreliable so the Pollack could not be kept fresh. Storing the caught seafood has been as much a burden as catching seafood. Unless a company has strong finances, it is difficult to survive in the seafood trade and companies that export seafood can do nothing about the prohibition on trading seafood. He concluded that companies were exporting seafood behind the government’s back, but this is risky since goods would be confiscated if the government found out about the violations.
Most local hospitals are in the same situation. A worker at the hospital attached to a manufacturing facility in Hamheung City said “Many accidents occur since it’s a factory, but even a simple antiseptic is not available. We really need antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, especially for tuberculosis. TB spreads very fast among children, so we desperately need drugs for meningitis and TB. I would not ask for your help with the malnutrition problem since it cannot be resolved without food. But I will never forget your kindness if you urgently provide with antibiotics and TB drugs for our children.” She asked this favor over and over.