A dire food shortage across North Korea has become so acute it has started to affect the country’s elite in the capital, Pyongyang, reports say.
Aid agency Good Friends says food rations for some parts of the city have been cut by up to 60%, while others have seen their supplies cut off completely.
Only citizens who show absolute loyalty to leader Kim Jong Il and his regime are allowed to live in Pyongyang and are considered better off than their fellow countrymen.
But the food situation, which has mostly been felt in rural areas where rations have been suspended since November, has now spread to the city, according to the South Korean aid agency.
« Even ranking officials have run out of their (rationed) food supply, while a ban on (private) trade is strictly maintained, » said an unidentified city official quoted by Good Friends.
« It is nothing but a death sentence. »
The agency also said farm labourers were staying away from work because they were not getting any food. This was said to be affecting the planting of new crops.
South Korea’s Hyundai Economic Research Institute has warned that the rising international cost of grain would impact further on the north’s desperate situation.
A famine gripped North Korea during the 1990s, reportedly killing up to two million people. Since then, the country has accepted food aid to feed the population.
But South Korea’s new conservative government has signalled it would stop providing unconditional aid to the north.
However, the US government this week sent an humanitarian expert to Seoul to discuss North Korea’s food situation.
Last month, the UN’s World Food Programme reported that close to a quarter of North Korea’s 23 million people are affected by a lack of food.
Déjà dans les années 90 le régime nord coréen, via la famine, a tué 2 millions de camarades citoyens, voici que c’est reparti. Le régime va-t-il s’autodétruire par la famine ?