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2011 DPRK Humanitarian News

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2012 DPRK Humanitarian News

US Says Further Discussions on Food Aid Necessary

December 20, 2011

According to the AP, officials in Washington say that more talks on food needs and monitoring conditions will be necessary before the US can make a decision on food aid to North Korea, and that those talks would only be possible after the 11-day mourning period for Kim Jong-il ends.

Humanitarian groups expressed misgivings at the delay. "The longer you delay this decision, the more suffering there's going to be," said David Austin of Mercy Corps.

According to former US Special Envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth, a US assessment in May concluded that food aid was needed in North Korea. Bosworth said that the food aid offer to North Korea would demonstrate "that they are getting something in return for the freeze in their nuclear activities."

To read the article, click here.

Food Aid Decision May be Delayed in Wake of Kim Jong-il's Death

December 18, 2011

The AP reports that the Obama administration said that the death of Kim Jong-il was likely to delay bilateral US-DPRK talks and a decision on food aid. The administration was expected to reach a decision on negotiations and humanitarian assistance by Monday, December 19.

To read the article, click here.

Rep. Manzullo Expresses Support for Dialogue and Food Aid

December 18, 2011

Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-IL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, expressed his support for food aid and the need for continued dialogue with North Korea in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. 

Manzullo also expressed skepticism that further sanctions on North Korea would be effective. "We have to continue talking, but also I don't know how many more sanctions we can have on North Korea than we have now, aside from a blockade," he said.

To read the article, click here.

US Strikes Food Aid Deal with North Korea

December 17, 2011

Yonhap reports that US diplomats have agreed to provide up to 240,000 tons of food aid to North Korea, saying that the agreement could help ensure progress on nuclear negotiations scheduled for later this month.

Diplomats in Seoul anonymously told Yonhap that the US "reached the agreement based on North Korea's pledge to implement initial measures of denuclearization that include a suspension of its uranium enrichment program."

To read the article, click here.

Food Aid Talks May Lead to Bilateral Nuclear Talks Next Week

December 15, 2011

Arirang TV, citing anonymous diplomatic sources in Beijing and Washington, reports that the US may consider a third round of bilateral talks with North Korea aimed at reviving the Six-Party Talks if food aid talks in Beijing this week go smoothly. The US wants North Korea to drop its demand for rice aid and ensure monitoring of humanitarian assistance. Should these talks succeeds, the next round of nuclear dialogue could take place next week.

To read the full article, click here

US Says Food and Nuclear Talks with North Korea Not Linked

December 15, 2011

Glyn Davies, the US Special Envoy for North Korea, said on Thursday that the US was not linking talks on the resumption of food aid to North Korea to negotiations over its nuclear program, Reuters reports.

"The short answer is there isn't any linkage between this issue of the provision of nutritional assistance to North Korea and this broader discussion that we hope to have with the North at the right time, if they do the right thing, on these issues related to denuclearization," Davies told reporters in Beijing.

"But I will say that we are paying close attention to how these talks on nutritional assistance go. We are looking for the North to engage in those discussions in good faith," he added.

 To read the Reuters article, click here. For a transcript of Davies' remarks, click here.

US, North Korea Discuss Resumption of Food Aid

December 14, 2011

US officials are meeting with their North Korean counterparts in Beijing today to discuss the resumption of food aid, the Washington Post reports.
 
Robert King, US Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights, and Jon Brause, Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID, are meeting with Ri Gun, North Korea's Director General for American Affairs, to discuss US concerns about monitoring and issues related to North Korea's suspension of the US food aid program in 2009.
 
The Post also reported that US officials are beginning to refer to food aid to North Korea as "nutritional assistance." “I think the term ‘nutritional assistance’ is a little bit broader than food aid,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. “There are many different ways to help a country that is in need — including dietary supplements and other things — things that, in some cases, are easier to monitor.”

To read the article, click here.

North Korea and the Food-Aid Dilemma

December 13, 2011

Writing in The National Interest, Mort Abramowitz argues that the US reluctance to deliver aid to North Korea because of fears of diversion and inadequate monitoring runs contrary to the claims of South Korean observers and US-based NGOs. "For all the fastidiousness displayed by the U.S. government," Abramowitz writes, "there is no indication that it has recently discussed in detail with North Korea provisions for adequately monitoring food aid."

To read Abramowitz's commentary, click here.

North Korea Approaching Severe Food Crisis this Winter: Aid Groups

December 8, 2011

Humanitarian aid groups say that North Korea is approaching a severe food crisis, and are calling on the US to join South Korea and other nations in providing food aid, PBS reports. Last year's brutal winter and flooding this summer, combined with a global rise in food prices, has created food shortages throughout the country. 

"The biggest health challenge for children in North Korea is nutrition," Austin added. "30 percent of children are so chronically malnourished that they are stunted. When they are stunted physically, they are also stunted developmentally. They can never recover."

To read the full article, click here.

Seoul to Send $5.7 Million in Aid to DPRK

December 5, 2011

South Korea's Unification Ministry said on Monday that it will send $5.7 million in aid to North Korea through UNICEF, and also plans to provide assistance to build a medical clinic and expanded bus stations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The aid will provide medicine, vaccines, and nutrients for malnourished North Korean children.
 
The decision to resume donations through UNICEF follows assessments by UN agencies and NGOs that North Korea would face serious food deficits without humanitarian assistance. It also follows a South Korean decision to resume the distribution of $7 million in medical supplies to be donated to the North through the World Health Organization, amid easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
 
To read the full article, click here.

Price of Rice in North Korea Climbs Despite Fall Harvest

December 2, 2011

The price of rice in North Korea is skyrocketing, rising from 2,400 won per kilogram in early October to 5,000 won in late November, according to the Chosun Ilbo. The rise in prices comes despite the recent fall harvest, which usually leads to a drop in the price of rice. South Korean officials believe that this year's harvest is being hoarded by the North Korean government to be dispersed for celebrations of Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday next year.
 
To read the article, click here.

WFP Criticized for Shipping Practices to North Korea

December 2, 2011

Writing at Foxnews.com, George Russell argues that the UN World Food Program's aid to North Korea is being siphoned off by the North Korean government, despite the WFP's claims of improved monitoring and oversight. Russell points to exceptionally high freight rates paid by the WFP to ship grain from China to North Korean ports, leaving "considerable room for profit" on the part of the DPRK government.

To read the full article, click here.

US Needs More Time for DPRK Aid Decision: USAID Head

December 1, 2011

In an interview with the New York Times, Rajiv Shah, head of the United States Agency for International Development, said that the US needs more time to make a decision on food aid to North Korea because of concerns that such aid would not reach those in need. 

"Our goal is to identify and complete an assessment of whether food aid assistance can effectively be provided in a manner that is transparent and targeted and reaches intended beneficiaries and avoids the risk of graft and misappropriation," Shah said. "We are all frustrated with what is the immense personal suffering that takes place when countries don’t create the conditions for effective humanitarian assistance and support," he added. "That’s why we are working hard to establish those conditions as a significant prerequisite for engaging in food aid in North Korea this time."

To read the full article, click here.

Food Aid in North Korea Reaching Targets: ROK Official

December 1, 2011

After travelling to North Korea to monitor the distribution of food aid from a private organization, Cho Joong-hoon, director of the Unification Ministry's humanitarian assistance division, said that the food had reached its intended targets. Travelling to North Korea with four civilians, the group inspected two kindergartens and a nursery in the city of Jongju. "North Koreans knew that the wheat flour aid they received came from South Korea," Cho said. "The name of the South Korean private aid group, the manufacturing company, the date, and the address were all printed on the packages of flour."
 
To read the Hankyoreh article, click here.

South Korean Official to Examine Food Aid in North

November 25, 2011

An official from South Korea's Unification Ministry, along with four civilians, left for North Korea on Friday to examine whether a recent aid package from a humanitarian organization had reached its intended beneficiaries, Yonhap News reports. The group will monitor the distribution of 300 tons of flour to children and other recipients in the northwestern city of Jongju. The trip marks the first time a South Korean official has been allowed to travel to the North to monitor aid since the Lee Myung-bak government took power in Seoul.

Click here to read the full article.

North Korea’s Children in Need of Food Aid, Agencies Warn

November 25, 2011

North Korea’s harvests this fall were expected to increase by 8.5 percent compared with a year ago, but the most vulnerable segments of the population, especially young children, still urgently need international aid, two United Nations agencies said Friday.

The country will need to import 739,000 tons of grain, World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report after an on-site assessment of the North’s food situation. But North Korea, constrained by high global food prices, is planning to import only 325,000 tons.

“The situation remains precarious,” Arif Husain of the World Food Program said in a statement.

Click here to read the full article in the New York Times. To read the FAO/WFP report on food security in North Korea, click here.

Unification Minister Links Food Aid to Security Issues

November 22, 2011

South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik said that "North Korea must admit its wrongful military provocations and assure us that they will never happen again" before large-scale food aid could resume, according the the Chosun Ilbo. "We can't dish up rice to somebody who shoots at us," he added, speaking at a meeting with representatives of the Korean community in China. Yu's comments appeared to reaffirm the ROK government's policy of linking food aid to an apology for the Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island incidents last year. To read the full article, click here.

US Unlikely to Resume Food Aid this Year, Says South Korean Official

November 21, 2011

Citing an anonymous high-ranking official from South Korea's Foreign Ministry, Yonhap News reports that the US is unlikely to provide food aid to North Korea this year. "The U.S. expects North Korea's harvest volume to increase somewhat this year," said the official, adding that there has been "no progress" in discussions between U.S. officials on whether to resume humanitarian food aid to the North. To read the story, click here.

Food and Shelter Needs Still Acute in Flood-hit Areas of DPRK: Red Cross

November 17, 2011

The Red Cross reports that flood-affected areas of North Korea are still seriously in need of food and shelter, and require more investment to prevent  future disasters. According to local officials and Red Cross chapters, only about 20 to 25 percent of the rice crop in the worst-hit province of South Hwanghae is expected to be saved. To read the article, click here.

Royce: Congress Should Have Cut Off All Food Aid to North Korea

November 17, 2011

In a news story published on the House Foreign Affairs Committee website, Rep. Ed Royce commented on the recently-passed minibus appropriations bill which requires adequate monitoring mechanisms for the delivery of food aid. "While far from the ideal of no food aid, this provision does send an important message to the Obama Administration that there is great skepticism about turning on the aid spigot to North Korea," said Royce, who had added an amending prohibiting any food aid to North Korea in the House version of the bill. "It's too bad that Senate Democrats didn't understand the way food aid bolsters the North Korean regime. But this provision has the potential to end aid down the road."

To read the full news release, click here.

Congressional Appropriations Bill on Food Aid Monitoring

November 16, 2011

Minibus appropriations bill containing funding for the Departments of Agriculture, Justice, and Transportation, among other agencies, has recently passed through a conference committee in Congress. The bill requires that funds dispersed through the Food for Peace Act "may only be used to provide assistance to recipient nations if adequate monitoring and controls, as determined by the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, are in place to ensure that emergency food aid is received by the intended beneficiaries in areas affected by food shortages and not diverted for unauthorized or inappropriate purposes." 

This language was included in the bill to ensure that any future aid program to North Korea contain adequate monitoring provisions. The Congressional Record states that "the conferees believe that food aid should not be used as a political tool but that recipient nations do have obligations to ensure transparency and cooperation in the distribution of aid to affected populations. Should the U.S. government consider resumption of food assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it is expected that assurances will be given to protect the integrity of program execution, including monitoring, and that any remaining issues regarding previous year program delivery be satisfactorily resolved."

For a list of recent appropriations bills with language relevant to North Korea policy, see our Appropriations briefing book

South Korea Sends Vaccines for Children in North

November 15, 2011

South Korea has sent a batch of hepatitis B vaccines for more than one million children to North Korea through international agencies, Yonhap News reports. The delivery of the vaccines, worth about $940,000, coincided with the South Korean government's decision to end a freeze on approximately $7 million of medicine and medical supplies it had previously donated to North Korea through the World Health Organization. To read the Yonhap article, click here

Tzu Chi Foundation to Provide Humanitarian Relief in DPRK

November 15, 2011

The Tzu Chi Foundation, a Taiwan-based Buddhist humanitarian organization, has begun an operation to distribute food aid to North Korea. The relief operation, which Tzu Chi describes as the "largest single operation in the foundation's history," will distribute 13,000 tons of rice, 350,000 liters of cooking oil, and 43 tons of infant formula to a total of 400,000 people. Tzu Chi last operated in North Korea eleven years ago. To read the foundation's news release on its operation, click here.

South Korean Christian Organization Sends Food to North

November 15, 2011

The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) has sent a shipment of 180 tons of wheat flour to North Korea through the Korean Christian Federation, shipping the aid by truck across the border near Kaesong. The food is intended for nurseries and orphanages in North P'yongan Province. NCCK had previously donated 172 tons of flour through hte Amity Foundation in May 2011. Although the South Korean government currently does not supply food to the North, it allows South Korean NGOs to do so under strict terms of monitoring. 
 
To read the press release on the food shipment, click here.

Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis on the Rise in North Korea

November 11, 2011

North Korea faces an epidemic of a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, Voice of America reports. Stephen Linton, a frequent visitor to the DPRK who recently returned from a trip there, said that "North Koreans have told me that tuberculosis is their number one, number two and number three primary public health concern." To read the full article, click here.

South Korea to Send Medical Aid to North

November 8, 2011

South Korea has authorized the World Health Organization to resume the distribution of ROK-financed medical supplies in North Korea, the New York Times reports. South Korea had donated $13 million in medicine and medical supplies to the WHO to be distributed in North Korea in 2009, but suspending the program after the sinking of the warship Cheonan in March 2010. On Tuesday, the South Korean Unification Ministry requested that the remaining $7 million in the program be distributed.

South Korea has not yet announced a decision on sending food aid as well as medicine to North Korea. ROK officials say that they are willing to provide significant amounts of aid in the event of a nationwide food crisis in the North, but that with the harvest season just begun, food shortages in the North have not yet reached a crisis level.

To read the full article, click here.

South Korea to Review Sending Aid to North

November 7, 2011


CNN reports that South Korea's government will actively review its policy for food aid to North Korea, saying that it is considering sending medical supplies and food to the North through international agencies."I will actively look into sending medical supplies to begin with and provide food aid for the young and vulnerable upon my return," said South Korea's Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik in a Friday meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. To read the full article, click here

Millions of North Koreans at Risk of Malnutrition: UNICEF

November 1, 2011


Millions of children and women of child-bearing age in North Korea face malnutrition which can leave them at higher risk of death or disease, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.

The agency urged donors to help prevent a "nutrition crisis" in North Korea due to its funding shortfall. UNICEF has received only $4.6 million out of $20.4 million needed for its emergency programs in the isolated country this year.

"If the funding does not arrive and we are unable to keep our nutrition programmes to treat those children who are severely malnourished, these children will suffer irreversible consequences on their growth and development capacity," Bijaya Rajbhandari, UNICEF's representative in North Korea, said in a statement.

To read the entire Reuters article, click here.

The Long-term Consequences of Hunger in North Korea

October 31, 2011

Writing in the Asia Times Online, Yong Kwon argues that the long-term consequences of North Korea's food shortage need to be taken into consideration, pointing out the long-term social consequences that a period of acute malnutrition can have. "The residual effects of starvation impact and permeate through a society for decades to come," he writes. "Basic ethical considerations aside, the future cost of amending the serious damages to people's health will hinder and inhibit North Korea from more quickly opening up and contributing to the world." To read his argument, click here.

South Korean Unification Minister to Visit US, Discuss Humanitarian Aid to North with UN

October 31, 2011

South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik will visit the US this week to discuss policy issues related to North Korea with officials in Washington. Yu will also meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York to discuss humanitarian issues concerning North Korea. Yu was appointed as Unification Minister two months ago, replacing a predecessor seen as a hard-liner on North Korea issues. To read the article, click here

Family Reunions, Food Aid Discussed at Talks in Geneva

October 31, 2011

During negotiations primarily concerning resumption of the Six-Party Talks in Geneva last week, US and North Korean diplomats also discussed issues including possible food aid and reunions for Korean-Americans with relatives in the DPRK, the Korea Times reports. After the meeting, a North Korean official stated that the DPRK Red Cross was "positively examining the [family reunion] issue from a humanitarian viewpoint." Officials on neither side were willing to comment further on progress made in the talks. Click here to read the full article.

Food Aid to the DPRK and Somalia

October 27, 2011

In their blog, Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland note an exchange between State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland and an unnamed reporter comparing US food aid policies toward Somalia and the DPRK. Noting that the US government has been more accommodating to NGOs working in Somalia, Haggard and Noland ask, "are we really more likely to prevent diversion to al-Shabaab than to the North Korean military? And if not, isn’t this a pretty clear indication that the judgment on North Korean food aid is linked to the talks?"

 

Click here to read Haggard and Noland's blog post. See the State Department briefing in full here

UN Food Chief Describes Worsening Food Situation in North Korea

October 24, 2011

Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, stated that North Koreans face “terrible levels of malnutrition” after a five-day fact-finding trip to the country. “Six million North Koreans urgently need food aid, but the outside world is not giving enough,” Amos said. Her findings come as humanitarian organizations have accused Washington of dithering on food aid. “It’s all wrapped in a political process,” David Austin, the North Korea program director for Mercy Corps, told the New York Times.

 

To the Times article, click here. For Amos’ statement on the food situation in North Korea, click here.

NGOs Accuse Obama Administration of Politicizing Food Aid to North Korea

October 14, 2011

Humanitarian aid groups have accused the Obama administration of playing politics with North Korean food aid, delaying a U.S. decision on aid while the food situation in the DPRK deteriorates. NGO workers say that the level of monitoring in place is sufficient to ensure that aid reaches the individuals who need it, and that the food situation in North Korea is slipping from chronic malnutrition to acute. “The food aid question is enmeshed bureaucratically in the overall fabric of North Korea policy and they just can’t cut it loose and make an independent decision,” the report quotes a congressional staffer familiar with the issue as saying.  To read the full article, click here.

Private Agriculture Quietly Flourishing in North Korea

October 14, 2011

The Washington Post reports on the spread of small, private agriculture in North Korea and its role in the country’s unofficial markets. Small mountainside plots and gardens in kitchens and balconies, the Post says, are fiercely defended by their owners and mostly tolerated by the state. To read the story, click here.

Humanitarian Workers Call for Food Aid to North Korea

October 13, 2011

In an op-ed article in the Christian Science Monitor, Jim White and Matt Ellingson, who recently travelled to flood-affected areas of North Korea, call for the U.S. to provide food aid to hungry North Koreans. White and Ellingson describe seeing “children starving, and in some cases, on the brink of death,” and argue that sufficient monitoring and oversight can be provided. To read their article, click here.

Nicholas Eberstadt on an "Intrusive Aid" Approach

October 13, 2011

Nicholas Eberstadt, at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that efforts to provide humanitarian relief to North Korea have failed, and have only served to prop up the DPRK regime. He advocates a policy of “intrusive aid,” which would require that North Korea give humanitarian workers full access throughout the country, including its prison camps, in return for food aid. To read his argument, click here.

Images of North Korea's Food Crisis

October 12, 2011

The Guardian has posted a slideshow of scenes from North Korea’s flood-hit South Hwanghae Province. To view the images, click here.

UN Humanitarian Chief Headed to Pyongyang for Food Aid Talks

October 11, 2011

Agence France-Presse reports that Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, will travel to North Korea next week to meet with DPRK ministers to discuss humanitarian assistance. The talks come as the UN has pressed Pyongyang on greater cooperation with humanitarian aid agencies. Following her trip to North Korea, Amos will travel to Beijing and South Korea for talks with government officials and private aid organizations. To read the story, click here.

Food Aid Unlikely Without Improvement in Inter-Korean Relations

October 10, 2011

Reuters reports that South Korea and the United States are unlikely to resume food aid to North Korea without stronger oversight and an improvement in inter-Korean relations. "At the current moment we don't have any plans to give massive food aid to North Korea, and neither has there been any demand from North Korea," an anonymous Unification Ministry official told Reuters. To read the full article, click here.

No US Decision Yet on Food Aid to North Korea

October 7, 2011

The United States government is concerned about the food situation in North Korea, but has not yet made a decision to resume aid over concerns that it will not reach those who most need it, reports the Chicago Tribune. According to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, “Any decision will be based on legitimate humanitarian needs, competing needs elsewhere, and our ability to ensure that aid is reliably reaching the people in need.” To read the story, click here

ROK Unification Ministry Says North Korean Food Shortage not Serious

October 6, 2011

South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik says that the food situation in North Korea is not very serious, Yonhap News Agency reports. Minister Yu added that South Korean aid to the North could resume if Pyongyang demonstrates its commitment to de-nuclearization. To read the full article, click here.

 

Chronic Malnutrition Seen in South Hwanghae Province

October 6, 2011

After a rare week-long visit by journalists and photographers to flood-hit South Hwanghae province, Reuters reports that it saw “chronic hunger, dire healthcare, limited access to clean water and a collapsing food-rationing system” in the area that is traditionally the rice bowl of North Korea. While the journalists’ visit was tightly controlled, it included visits to farms, hospitals, orphanages, and schools, and found signs of severe malnutrition in some children. To read the full Reuters report, click here. For a report by The Guardian including footage of food crisis victims, click here.
 

South Korea Drops Offer of Flood Relief

October 4, 2011

South Korea abandoned its efforts to send flood relief to the North after not receiving a response to its offer, Agence France-Presse reports. The South offered an aid package including instant noodles, medicine, and nutritional meals for children, rather than respond to the North’s request of rice, cement, and equipment for reconstruction. To read the article, click here.

 

KCNA Reports on Russian Food Aid in North Korea

October 4, 2011

The Korea Central News Agency, North Korea’s state-run media outlet, reported on Russia’s delivery of food aid to the DPRK through the World Food Program. It called the aid “a manifestation of the traditional friendly relations between the two countries.” To read the article, click here.
 

Update on the Food Crisis in North Korea

October 4, 2011

Posting on their blog on the Peterson Institute for International Economics’ website, Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard point to a number of reasons why the food situation in North Korea does not seem to have improved since this summer. In addition to citing reports of the damage caused by flooding, they point out that the relative prosperity of urban areas—where most media attention and foreign visitors are directed—obscures the poverty in the countryside. To read their post, click here.
 

Richard Weitz Calls US Food Aid to North Korea Least Bad Option

September 30, 2011

Richard Weitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, argues in World Politics Review that the U.S. has no good options regarding whether to send food aid to North Korea, but that aid should resume for both humanitarian and political reasons. “The U.S. should offer food assistance as a means of jumpstarting a dialogue with Pyongyang that eventually needs to extend to security issues,” Weitz argues. To read his article, click here.
 

Jump in Chinese Grain Exports to North Korea

September 30, 2011

The Daily NK, citing statistics released by the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), reports that North Korea imported 47,978 tons of grain from China this August, a massive increase in imports compared to the 19,384 tons of grain imported from China this July and the 16,723 tons imported in August 2010. Kwon Tae Jin of the KREI told the Daily NK that the increase was caused by a particularly cold winter, but said that this year’s harvest in North Korea will be somewhat better than the last. To read the full story, click here

 

Ban Ki-moon Discusses Nuclear, Humanitarian Issues with DPRK Official

September 29, 2011

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed humanitarian assistance to North Korea and the nuclear issue with DPRK Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Pak Gil-yon, the UN News Service reports. Mr. Ban encouraged more aid to North Korea, and stressed the need for dialogue in resolving the nuclear issue. To read the article, click here.
 

Humanitarian Groups Say Food Situation Worsening in North Korea

September 27, 2011

US aid organizations with experience operating in the DPRK called for the US to offer food assistance to North Korea, Agence France-Presse reports. The five groups, which delivered flood relief to North Korea earlier this month, said the situation in North Korea could develop into a major humanitarian crisis next year. To read the article, click here.
 

EU Food Aid Arrives in North Korea

September 21, 2011

The World Food Program reports that it is distributing over 5.5 metric tons of wheat in North Korea, in the first tranche of food aid funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office’s €8.5 million donation for humanitarian assistance. The food is intended for vulnerable groups, such as children and pregnant mothers, and is being distributed in North and South Hamgyong, Ryanggang, and Kangwon Provinces. To read the WFP news release, click here.

 

Decision on US Food Aid to North Korea Depends on Oversight Measures

September 20, 2011

The Financial Times reports that the US will not send food aid to North Korea until it is satisfied with oversight measures to keep the aid from being diverted. “Prior efforts had built in very specific standards and benchmarks that the North Korean reneged on, which was why the assistance stopped,” Rajiv Shah, head of the US Agency for International Development, told the FT. “We’re in a discussion to explore whether those standards and benchmarks, in a credible way, can be reestablished and until they commit to doing that it’s very difficult to restart something.” To read the story, click here.
 

US Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Arrives in Seoul

September 19, 2011

Ambassador Robert King, US Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, arrived in Seoul for talks which appear to be aimed at persuading the South Korean government to go along with food aid to the North, the Christian Science Monitor reports. To read the full article, click here.
 

North Korean Soldiers Reportedly Raiding Crops

September 16, 2011

Citing anonymous sources from Hoiryeong, a city in North Hamgyung Province, and the DPRK military’s Prison Guard Regiment, the Daily NK reports that soldiers in the area are raiding farms in the area for food to supplement their meager food rations. Food supplies in the area are already scarce, the article states, leading farmers to closely guard their crops against such raids. For the full article, click here.
 

UN Agency Reports Six Million North Korean in Need of Food Assistance

September 15, 2011

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has announced that the DPRK’s growing food crisis has left six million North Koreans at risk of going without enough to eat, reports Agence France-Presse. Diminished aid, a harsh winter, and increases in global food prices have led to a humanitarian emergency, according to the FAO. To read the article, click here.
 

Tuberculosis Spreading in North Korea

September 8, 2011

The Daily NK reports that tuberculosis infections, long a problem in North Korea, are spreading. The article quotes Sharon Perry, an epidemiologist with experience working in North Korea, saying that TB rates have increased by 10% every year for each of the past five years. To read the article, click here.
 

Malnutrition Leading to Spread of Illnesses in North Korea

September 7, 2011

The Good Friends newsletter, citing sources in North Korea’s Health Department and its hospitals, reports that the number of patients infected with hepatitis, tuberculosis, and dyspepsia has increased in the past year due to malnutrition. The report says that both food and medical aid are required to meet shortages in North Korean hospitals. To read the newsletter, click here.
 

ROK to Send Aid to North Korea Next Week

September 5, 2011

According to Zee News, ROK Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae Sung said that South Korea could make its first shipment of flood assistance to North Korea next week. To read the story, click click here

 

US Assistance Arrives in DPRK 

 September 4, 2011

Relief Web, drawing from an AFP story, reported that a shipment of US flood assistance arrived by air in Pyongyang on September 3.  The aid includes "includes blankets, plastic sheeting for shelters, hygiene kits, water filtration systems and medical supplies." To read the full story, click here.

 

 US AID/US NGO Flood Relief Bound for North Korea

September 2, 2011

 According to WCNC in North Carolina,  on September 2 Samaritan’s Purse loaded a plane with flood relief provisions bound for North Korea. Four U.S. NGOs joined with Samaritan’s Purse in this effort:  Christian Friends of Korea, Global Resource Services, Mercy Corps and World Vision.  The shipment was paid for in part with funding from  USAID. To read the story, click here.

 

 DPRK May Farm in Russia’s Far East

September 1, 2011

According to Yonhap, which was reporting on a Voice of Russia broadcast, the DPRK sent an agricultural delegation to Russia to discuss developing 200,000 hectares (approximately 494200 acres) of vacant land in the Amur region.  To read the article, click here.

 

UN Releases Food Security "Snapshot" of DPRK

August 31, 2011

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has released its August 2011 "snapshot" of food security in the DPRK.  The one page report includes a graph of estimated availability of cereals and a map of current vulnerable populations.  To see the snapshot, click here.

 

 South Korea Businesses to send Food Aid to DPRK

August 25, 2011

According to Xinhua News, South Korean companies in Kaesong Industrial Park are requesting government permission to send 100 million won (92,115 U.S. dollars) worth of flour to residents of Kaesong. To read the story, click here.

 

France to provide additional aid to the DPRK

 August 25, 2011

 According to KBS, the Voice of America reported that France will provide food aid in Hamgyeong Province and North Hwanghae Province beginning early next year. Meanwhile, over the next three months the French aid group Premiere Urgence “is planning to provide three months' worth of rice, corns, beans and bean oil to orphans and disabled people in North Korea. “ To read the article, click here.

 

Red Cross Issues Appeal for Flood Aid for North Korea

August 23, 2011

According to Relief Web, the International Committee of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has issued an appeal for 3.1 million Euros (4.4 million dollars) for flood relief for to 30,000 people (approx 7,500 families) in need as a result of a series of storms and flooding in North Korea. IFRC plans to provide food and non-food relief, including shelter materials, clean water and health care.  According to the release, "Field assessments carried out by the DPRK Red Cross Society and the IFRC found that in some areas of the worst-affected South Hwanghae Province, about 50 per cent of homes had been destroyed and 90 per cent suffered some kind of damage." To read the press release, click here.

 

UN Situation Report on Flooding in the DPRK

August 22, 2011

 This August 22, 2011 report from the Office of the Resident Coordinator of UN Programs in the DPRK summarizes DPRK Government data: "a total of 31 lives were lost, and 3 persons remain missing. A total of 3,376 houses are reported as totally destroyed in the affected provinces of South Hwanghae, North Hwanghae, Kangwon, Nampo City, and Kaesong City. In the same areas, a total of 48,385 unit hectares of arable land is reported as either submerged, buried, or washed away."  To see the report,  click here

 

Russia Sent 50,000 Tons of Wheat to North Korea

August 20, 2011

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russia sent its first shipment on Aug. 19, as part of the 50,000 tons of wheat pledged earlier this month. It added that it planned to ship the rest of the supplies next month. For more information, click here. 

 

UN: DPRK Rain and Flood Damage Report

August 20, 2011

The United Nations Country Team in the DPRK released a situation report regarding DPRK’s recent flood damage. According to the country team, the report is based on ongoing assessment of the effects of heavy rains and floods in Southern parts of the nations, especially North and South Hwanghae Provinces. Local officials report that since the series of storms began in June 23, there have been 10 casualties and 887 injured. 1,402 households (5,612 persons) have been displaced and are living in government-provided shelters. 23 health facilities, as well as a handful of schools and kindergartens have been partially damaged and 450 were submerged. 25 bridges were destroyed. For more information, click here.

 

China pledged fertilizer during Kim’s May Visit Kim’s Trip to China

August 19, 2011

According to JoongAng Ilbo citing a single source in Beijing, China agreed to provide 200,000 tons of fertilizer and 500,000 tons of corns in exchange for receiving the right to access North Korea’s natural resources. The source said that 200,000 tons of fertilizer could bring about three-fold increase in the harvest equivalent of giving 600,000 tons of food. In exchange, North Korea will hand over 50 percent of the extracted rare earth minerals free of charge to China, with the rest to be sold to China at international market rates. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea Allows South Korean Civic Groups to Monitor Flour Distribution

August 18, 2011

In response to the South Korean government’s request to allow South Korean civic groups to monitor the distribution of provided flour North Korea has approved NGO visits to a day care center and three other facilities. According to the Unification Ministry, the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation videotaped their monitoring visits to Sariwon and North Hwanghae Province between August 3 and 6 and presented the tapes to the Unification Ministry. According to the KBS, this was the first time for a civic group to tape the distribution and send related photos to the Unification Ministry. For more information, click here.

 

USG Announces Flood Assistance for DPRK

 August 18, 2011

The State Department issued a press release today announcing up to $900,000 in emergency humanitarian assistance in response to reports of severe flooding in North Korea. The aid will be delivered by U.S. NGOs.  The press release stated "The United States supports emergency humanitarian assistance to the people of North Korea in accordance with international standards for monitoring. It has been the United States’ longstanding position that the provision of humanitarian assistance is separate from political and security concerns." For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Runs Bakeries in North Korea to Feed Children

August 17, 2011

George Rhee, who runs a charity Love for North Korean Children and a minister for a South Korean church in London, runs three bakeries in North Korean to feed North Korean children. He said he chose bread because it can’t be stored and sold on, but should be eaten right away. To feed children, Rhee is trying to develop the food infrastructure to make it more efficient. For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Religious Leaders Requires Expanded Aid to the North

August 16, 2011

According to Yonhap News, South Korean Christian, Buddhist and other religious leaders called for the South Korea government to provide more flood aid to North Korea. It reported that the appeal comes as South Korea prepared to send relief supplies worth $4.7M to the North. For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Pledges Humanitarian Aid to North Korea

August 15, 2011
At a presidential speech celebrating Korean Peninsula’s 66th Liberation Day on Aug. 15th, President Lee called for cooperation with the North and said that humanitarian support for North Korean children and flood victims will continue. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea Imports Corns over Rice

August 15, 2011

According to Daily NK citing the Korea Rural Economic Institute, North Korea’s food import from China has 5.5% increased this year, with more purchases of cheaper grains such as corn instead of rice. Kwon Tae-jin, vice president of Korea Rural Economic Institute, said that the increased imports are probably a reflection of ongoing food crisis, while choice of import items appears to be caused by lack of foreign cashes. He also added that given increasing grain prices, this phenomenon of importation seems to grow further in coming months. For more information, click here.

 

WFP: Combating Malnutrition in DPR Korea

August 11, 2011

The World Food Program released  a video on its emergency operation in North Korea to help 3.5M people. The video clip contains scenes of a biscuit factory closed due to lack of ingredients to make nutrition-blended biscuits, which had been provided to children in schools. It also shows malnourished children and currently supported by the WFP Emergency Operation. To watch the video, click here.

 

North Korea Seeking Rice Deal with Myanmar

August 10, 2011

According to Reuters, North Korean trade officials visited Myanmar to discuss a possible deal of Burmese rice import as it could be vital for North Korea to ease domestic food shortages. In Myanmar, witnesses and a Reuters photographer said that a North Korea flagged vessel has been docked in the port for a couple days, but it seemed empty and they had not seen cargo loaded or unloaded. For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Lists Relief Aid Items

August 10, 2011

The South Korean government sent a list of relief aid items that it is willing to send to the North Korean flood victims. The list includes 1.4 million units of high protein food, 300,000 units of snacks, 1.92 million Choco Pies and 1.6 million units of instant noodles. As noted previously, the South Korean Red Cross did not include rice, wheat flour, nor cement to the list. For more information, click here.

 

KCNA: Typhoon Muifa Left Casualties

August 10, 2011

KCNA said that according to the result of a survey, typhoon-9 (Muifa) left more than 10 people dead or wounded and over 240 houses destroyed throughout the DPRK. It added that 25,800 hectares of crop areas in Hwanghae Provinces are seriously damaged, and over ten bridges were broken. Around 4,000 fallen trees are obstructing roadways, making it difficult to transport relief goods and materials to the damaged areas. For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Red Cross Prepares Flood Relief Aid to N. Korea

August 9, 2011

According to Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), the South Korean Red Cross has begun its preparations to send relief aid to North Korea. A South Korean government official predicted that the flood aid could be sent before Chuseok holidays, mid-September.  For more information, click here.

 

North Korean Escapes from Hunger to Thailand

August 9, 2011

According to Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), North Koreans are escaping to Thailand from severe food shortages and poverty. In 2004, only 24 North Korean asylum seekers were reported by Thailand’s Immigration Bureau, however, the numbers have jumped to 2,500 in 2010. This is because Thailand is the easiest route to access and the most accommodating compared to Mongolia or Vietnam where border security is strict. For more information, click here.

 

EU Gives 200,000 Euros to North Korea for Flood Aid

August 9, 2011

According to The Korea Herald citing Voice of America, the European Union donated 200,000 euros ($280,000) to the International Federation of Red Cross for North Korean flood aid. An EU official said that the money had already been used to repair damaged areas and help people, and said that EU might provide additional aid if the Red Cross asks for it. Meanwhile, the United Nations remains undecided over the decision of providing flood aid to the North as it says it does not have enough information to assess the degree of flood damage. For more information, click here.

 

FAO: North Korea Faces Limited Crop Damage from Floods

August 8, 2011

According to Reuters citing the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), North Korea is facing crop damages in its main cereal producing regions, approximately 5% of the total cereal producing areas. FAO said that "Although no precise crop damage estimates are yet available, the paddy crop, currently at the initial growing stage, is likely to be affected the most in the low lying areas." However, it also added that rains are likely to benefit crops growing in surrounding areas. For more information, click here.

 

Russia Promises Food Aid to North Korea

August 8, 2011

According to Daily NK Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia would send 50,000 tons of wheat flour to North Korea to help it cope with food shortages after devastating floods. A professor of Moscow State University’s International Center for Korean Studies commented, “This is the first time in the history of Russia-North Korea relations that Russia has given food aid of this scale.” Kommersant, a Russian business newspaper, hypothesized that the aid decision shows Russia’s intention to foster a greater influence in the resolution of the North Korea problem. For more information, click here.

 

FAO: DPRK Affected by Flood in July

August 8, 2011

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations released a report on the DPRK’s flood damage in July, including a comparison of average rainfall in the DPRK with precipitation in July and crop areas affected by flood. The two-page report is available here


Typhoon Hits N.Korea

August 8, 2011

According to Voice of Russia, the North Korean western coast was hit by typhoon over the weekend. However, the report did not provide casualties or damages. For more information, click here.

South Korea Plans on Sending Flood Aid to the North

August 7, 2011

According ton Yonhap News, South Korea plans to deliver flood aid to North Korea in September. An administration official said that “We’ll send relief goods as soon as we are ready,” adding it will start to take necessary administrative steps to provide aid. The government official added that the government will hold a meeting to vote on appropriations from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund, and will try to secure goods through the state-run Public Procurement Service. For more information, click here.

 

Seoul Rejects Sending Rice and Cement as Flood Aid

August 5, 2011

In response to the South Korean Red Cross’s announcement that it would send flood aid to the North, the North Korean Red Cross asked for rice and cement. The South Korean Unification Ministry sent a letter to North Korean Red Cross saying that South Korean Red Cross will send nourishing food, instant ramen noodles and medical supplies, but it won’t deliver cement nor rice. For more information, click here.

 

N. Koreans Dead/Missing after Recent Flood

August 5, 2011

According to Yonhap News, 26 people are dead, 8 are injured and 4 are missing after the recent typhoon and torrential rains. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), reporting that these numbers are solely from South Hwanghae Province, added that the death toll could rise higher as other areas were also damaged by flooding. For more information, click here.

 

New Picture from KCNA

August 4, 2011

KCNA released a few pictures of recent flood damage. Pictures are available here.

 

Red Cross in Pyongyang Launched Flood Relief Activities

August 4, 2011

According to KCNA, Pyongyang Red Cross has started relief activities in the wake of recent flood damages. The Red Cross Society sent teams to severely flood-hit cities to assess the damage, and also rendered medical services to prevent epidemics from occurring. For more information, click here.

 

South Koreans Arrived Pyongyang to Monitor Flour Aid

August 3, 2011

According to The Korea Times, six officials from Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation arrived in Pyongyang to travel to Sariwon and oversee the distribution of aid. The Unification Ministry said that “the officials will visit several institutions to confirm if the flour has been distributed in the line with the distribution plan document.” It added that the North had agreed to complete reports in detail before and after the delivery, and also agreed to allow the groups to visit the sites to properly monitor the distribution of the flour. For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Red Cross Offers Flood Aid to N.Korea

August 3, 2011

According to Voice of America, the South Korean Red Cross decided to provide North Korea with flood aid including medical supplies and other necessities worth $4.7 million. Meanwhile, on August 2, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) announced that is has allocated more than $590,000 to help homeless and displaced people in North Korea over the next six months. For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Private Group Sends Additional Flour Aid to the North

August 2, 2011

According to Yonhap News, The Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (KCRC), a coalition of pro-unification civic and social groups, sent 300 metric tons of flour to North Korea to be distributed in Sariwon city, in North Hwanghae Province. The group planned to send a monitoring team the following day. A week ago, it sent 300 metric tons of flour to North Korean children hospitals and nursery. The group has pledged to send 2,500 tons to 82,000 North Koreans by the end of August. For more information, click here.

 

Seoul Says Further Assessment Is Needed for Flood Aid

August 2, 2011

According to The Korea Times, Seoul could consider providing government-level flood aid to the North in response to recent heavy rains, but added that more damage assessments would be needed. A government official said “The government is closely watching the situation,” and the international community’s assessment could be taken into consideration, but made it clear that Seoul would make its own decisions. For more information, click here.

 

N. Korean Prime Minister Inspects Damaged Regions

August 2, 2011

According to KCNA, North Korean Prime Minister Choe Yong Rim inspected South Hwanghae Province, allegedly the most-flood-hit region. After visiting Chongjong-ri and Simphyong-ri of Chongdan County, he held a consultative meeting to discuss the quick rehabilitation of damaged areas. For more information, click here.

South Korea OKs Anti-Malaria Supplies to the North

August 1, 2011

The South Korea government approved a request of Korean Sharing Movement to send anti-malaria supplies to the North.  The agency will deliver two pieces of ultrasonic diagnostic equipment which diagnoses disease by ultrasonic wave to the North next Wednesday.  For more information, click here.

N.Korea Says several Dozens Killed or Injured in Recent Downpours

August 1, 2011

According to Yonhap News Agency, KCNA reported that the recent typhoon and heavy rain killed or injured dozens of people. It said that 2,900 homes were destroyed because of the torrential rain, submerging or washing away nearly 60,000 hectares (148,000 acres) of farmland. For more information, click here.

KCNA: China to Provides Relief Aid to N.Korea

July 31, 2011

KCNA reported that that Kim Jong-il had received a message from Chinese President Hu Jintao expressing “deep sympathy and sincere consolation,” about the recent damages and casualties caused by torrential rain. KCNA also said the Chinese government and the Red Cross Society of China decided to offer emergency relief aid to North Korea for the flood damage. The amount of aid was not revealed. For more information, click here.

 

AP Video Footage Shows Flooding in North Korea from Heavy Rains

July 30, 2011

According to Forbes, footage obtained Saturday by Associated Press Television News showed North Korea flooded by downpours for the last couple days.. It also showed damaged rice fields  and “damage to a country road, a collapsed bridge, a bus left stranded and tilted at a precarious angle, bent over rice shoots and crops washed over by earth and gravel.” AP said that “heavy rainfall can be catastrophic for North Korea, given the country’s impoverishment, poor drainage and deforestation,” adding that the flooding in 2007 left some 600 people dead or missing and about 100,000 others homeless.” For more information, click here.


KCNA: Heavy Rainfall Severely Damaged North Hwanghae Province

July 29, 2011

According to KCNA, North Hwanghae province has been seriously damaged by flooding. It reported that more than 360 hectares (about 890 acres) solely in Sohung County, and over 650 hectares (about 1,605 acres) in the province are inundated. It added that “roads, dwelling houses and public buildings were also destroyed in the province.” For more information, click here.

A South Korean Charity Group Sends Additional Flour to the North

July 28, 2011

According to The Korea Herald citing Yonhap News, a South Korean Catholic charity group delivered 100 metric tons of flour to North Korea. Shin Hye-young, an official of Caritas Korea, said that the flour will be delivered to the North Korean authorities near Kaesong and will be distributed to a hospital, and a nursery near Pyongyang. She added that the Catholic aid agency would dispatch people in coming weeks to monitor if the flour gets to the intended recipients. For more information, click here.
 

Flour Delivered to the North

July 27, 2011

In the wake of South Korean government authorization of flour assistance to the North Korean people, trucks loaded flour from South Korean civic groups-- The South Korean council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, and The Catholic Church—is being sent to Sariwon, North Hwanghae provice. For more information, click here


North Korea Hopes to Buy Rice, Invest in Mining in Cambodia

July 27, 2011

According to Reuter Africa, a Cambodian official said that North Korea wants to import Cambodian rice to ease food shortages. In exchange it hopes to sell agricultural equipment at prices below western prices and also wants to provide expertise in Cambodia’s mining and energy sectors. Further details along with the amount of rice North Korea wanted to import were not disclosed. Cambodia wants to develop its energy and mining sectors, and according to the article, North Korea’s expertiset will help Cambodia develop those sectors. For more information, click here.

 

Seoul Considers Sending Malaria Aid to the North

July 27, 2011

According to The Korea Herald, the Korean Sharing Movement said that South Korea is considering approval of shipments of anti-malarial drugs and ultra-sonic diagnostic equipment to the North. An official at the Unification Ministry confirmed that the request had been made and said a separate state agency is exploring whether or not the diagnostic devices could be converted to war items. He said that the machines will be approved "so as long as they are not judged as strategic materials." For more information, click here.

 

Commentary: N.Korea Food Shortage Worst in Years Despite Farms

July 25, 2011

According to Seattle Pi Commentary, “North Korea shortage worst in years despite farms,” Jean H. Lee emphasizes North Korea’s serious food shortages proven by aid workers, and designates farming conditions as one of the reasons. The author says North Korea’s volatile weather and cold winter are not suitable for farming. He points to a few more facts that cause chronic food crisis: pumping pesticide that destroys the soil when they plant Napa cabbage, outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that stops farmers from relying on oxen, a harsh winter and increased global food prices. The author says that some people buy or barter food and others grow what they can in communal gardens, but people living in Northeast area don’t have means to supplement their diminishing rations. Discussing North Korea’s show-case ostriches farms, he quotes Kim Kyung-ryang, professor of Kangwon National University: “Vegetables are what matter. Food other than staples are a luxury.” For more information, click here.

 

Indian President Says North Korea’s Food Situation is Grave

July 24, 2011

According to Yonhap News, Indian President Pratibha Patil said that India’s decision in March to provide food assistance to North Korea was based on North Korea’s “grave” food security situation. She added that the India government cooperated with World Food Program to ensure the food assistance reaches the intended destination quickly and effectively, saying “I understand that Indian food assistance has reached the DPR Korea and is being distributed by the WFP.” For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Approves Flour Aid to North Korea

July 24, 2011

The South Korean government approved civic groups’ flour aid to North Korea, for the first time since artillery shelling last November. Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said in a Monday press briefing that two South Korean civilian groups—The South Korean council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, and The Catholic Church—would deliver flour to children’s hospital and nurseries, 300 tons and 100 tons respectively. For more information, click here.

 

 

Rainfall Left 96 Injured in a Border City

July 21, 2011

According to the Korean Herald, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported that recent downpours have injured 96 people and destroyed thousands of houses in a city bordering the DMZ. Some of the people injured were sent to a nearby hospital in Kaesong. For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Pastor Helps North Koreas Grow Food

July 21, 2011

Kim Seon-man, a South Korean pastor has been helping North Koreans to grow food for more than a decade. With his personal experience of operating farms in Russia and Japan, he threw himself into this mission. Since his first arrival to North Korea in 2002, he oversaw construction of a greenhouse and taught North Koreans how to grow greenhouse vegetables. Pastor Kim, an agricultural advisor, also said that food assistance should be resumed not only from South Korea but also from other countries. He said, “North Korea should be helped by other people” adding “In other countries, if they work hard they will not starve. If North Koreans work hard, they will still starve.” For more information, click here.

 

Flood Affects Homes and Fields

July 20, 2011

According to Relief Web, many people are already going hungry as food supplies decrease, in part because of recent flooding. It quotes a recent WFP staffer who says he witnessed widespread flooding and damage to farmland. Relief Web added that current flooding would worsen the food security in the country. For more information, click here.

 

North Korean Coal Mines Damaged by Heavy Rain

July 20, 2011

According to KCNA, coal mines in North Korea were affected by heavy rain a week ago. Over 30 mines in the western part of North Korea were submerged and a huge amount of coal was washed away by the rain. KCNA reported that coal production has been suspended in Hamnam and Chonnae area, and the rain also severely affected transportation and electricity. For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Approves Civic Humanitarian Aid to North Korea

July 19, 2011

The Unification Ministry said that it authorized four civic groups to send humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people in North Korea. The four civilian groups are Won Buddhism, North and South Living Together Movement, Good Neighbors, and TB Zero Movement. They will respectively send infant formula and diapers; notebooks; infant formula; TB drugs. According to the Korean language “Financial News,”North and South Living Together Movement and Good Neighbors will send necessary goods to Sin-uijoo; Won Buddhism will send to Kaesong area; TB Zero Movement will send to Pyongan province. For more information, click here.

 

Commentary: EU’s Food Aid for North Koreans

July 19, 2011

In this Korea Herald commentary, “EU’s food aid for North Koreans” Glyn Ford reviews the history of the DPRK’s request for food aid in January and the EU’s response in June, saying that after six months Brussels finally “relented and became the first major donor of this famine.” He noted that Washington and Seoul have still not decided. For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Is Likely to Approve Flour Aid

July 19, 2011

In response to growing requests from civilian groups to send flour to North Korea the South Korean government expressed the possibility of a positive response. A ministry official said on the condition of anonymity that “The government has not excluded flour from a list of humanitarian aid items for North Korea,” however, he made it clear that  flour should be sent based upon proper monitoring. Since South Korea banned civilian aid to North Korea after Yeongpyeong shelling last November, it has selectively approved private groups’ aid, but approval to send flour has not yet been given. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea’s Looming Famine

July 18, 2011

This article The Week  poses questions and provides answers regarding the severity of food shortage in North Korea, the coping mechanisms to survive the shortage, the country’s inability to feed its people, and the chronic shortages in the DPRK. For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Civilian Group Seeks Permission for Humanitarian Assistance

July 18, 2011

The Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (KCRC) requested permission to the Unification Ministry to send food aid to North Korea. The food requested by KCRC includes 1,000 metric tons of flour for people in Sariwon, North Hwanghae province, and 35 metric tons of flour along with 2 tons of baby formula for kindergartens and children care facilities in South Pyeongan province. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea Hit by Heavy Rain

July 16, 2011

According to KCNA, heavy rains hit the DPRK from July 12 to 15, causing damages. Hwanghae provinces and South Kamgyong province were hit hard  by the rainfalls, accumulating 250mm of precipitation in every part of South Hwanghae. Continued rain affected 15,000 hectares of farmlands, completely inundating 10,000 hectare of them. KCNA reported that torrential rain hit Hamhung as well destroying  houses and causing casualties. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea faces famine: 'Tell the world we are starving'

July 16, 2011

This Telegraph article reports on interviews with 8 North Korean people who recently fled North Korea  in search of food. The interviewees provided their own experiences and observations on the level of hunger in the DPRK. Kim, one of the interviewees, says that people are going out at night to collect edible grass as they had during the great famine in the mid 1990s. To a question on whether foreign governments should provide food aid to North Korea, another interviewee answered that “it is true that hardly any of it will come to us ordinary people, …, but it will be enough to help people to survive.”  For more information, click here.

 

US Lawmakers to Oppose Resumption of Food Aid

July 15, 2011

According to Arirang TV station, Sen. Jim Webb, Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reportedly agreed with a visiting delegation of Japanese officials that the United States should not provide food aid to North Korea. According to Arirang, Japan's Secretary General of the Parliamentary League, Jin Matsubara said the U.S. lawmakers thought that even though strict monitoring is to be placed, there is no way to ensure if the food gets to the ordinary people. For more information, click here. 


Japan Urges U.S. Not to Provide Food Aid to North Korea

July 13, 2011

Japanese lawmakers requested the United States not to give food assistance to North Korea, saying if the United States provides aid, it might east pressure on North Korea about freeing Japanese abductees. Japanese lawmakers stated that no matter how strict monitoring regime is, the food aid will be diverted to the elite and not reach ordinary North Koreans. Meanwhile, the Japanese government made it clear that it has no plan to provide food aid to North Korea. For more information, click here.

 

Commentary: Hunger in North Korea: Time for a Decision

July 13, 2011

In this commentary in 38 North, “Hunger in North Korea: Time for a decision” Roberta Cohen, human rights specialist at the Brookings Institution, emphasizes that it is time for the United States to make a decision on North Korean food aid. She says “taking no decision is really a decision,” adding that the delay in the decision-making gives the impression to the international community that North Korea’s food crisis is not as serious as we think. She points out that the U.S. mission visited only two provinces in North Korea to assess the food security, whereas the UN visited nine. She concludes that humanitarian action should be divorced from politics, and China, as the North’s principal ally, to take more significant actions. For more information, click here.

 

 North Korea Affected by Typhoon

July 12, 2011

According to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a powerful typhoon hit North Korea, causing casualties and serious damage of farmlands and industrial facilities, washing away 21,000 hectares of farmlands and destroying about 160 houses. North Korea is rebuilding damaged houses and public buildings. For more information, click here.

Opinion: North Koreans Starve While Washington Wavers

July 12, 2011

In this opinion piece, in the National Interest, “North Koreans starve while Washington wavers” Morton Abramowitz emphasizes that the United States should provide food assistance for humanitarian reasons. The author says that unlike European NGOs and a few European governments’ food support for the DPRK, the U.S. government took no action after U.S. NGOs and the WFP released reports saying that North Korea needed food to aid by June to prevent “deterioration” of  food security.  He also addresses the silence of NGOs regarding the need for food; the fact that the DPRK has not addressed the failings of its economy policy, and China’s supports of the North Korean military. For more information, click here.


Opinion: Food Aid: RIP?

July 12, 2011

In this opinion piece “Food Aid: RIP?” Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard emphasize that the U.S. would have a huge impact if it starts food assistance to the DPRK, saying “if the larger countries step up, it has a catalytic effect.” However, they also point out that “US policy should contend with the Lee Myung Bak government as well.” They refer to Rep. Ed Royce’s recent amendment; saying the arguments made in support of the bill are outdated and “have little to do with the humanitarian situation on the ground.” For more information, click here.

 

North Korean Defectors Says Food Goes to Military

July 7, 2011

At an opening ceremony of Hanawon—South Korean facility to help North Korean defectors to have a better adjustment to the new society— on July 7, two North Korean defectors made comments on food aid to North Korea. Kim said that he had eaten South Korean rice in 2000, but most rice aid went to military warehouses. Another defector, Yang, said that South Korean rice ended up being sold in markets, adding that the the international community shouldn’t provide food aid to North Korea. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: We Can’t Say Where The Aid Will End Up

July 6, 2011

In his op-ed “We can’t say where the aid will end up” Kim Yong-soon says South Korea should adhere to its current policy and withhold food aid to the North. He argues that in contrast to the ROK, which has attempted to use aid for political leverage, “the international community has long been providing aid under conditions which link the aid to developmental goals, both in economic and democratic terms, and humanitarian objectives.” However, he is concerned that aid is diverted to the North Korean military, and will not reach out to ordinary people. Ultimately he concludes that global civil society should provide aid, while the ROK continues to exert pressure. For more information, click here.

 

 Editorial: South Korea, Please Give Some Fertilizer!

July 6, 2011

According to this editorial on the Good Friends website, “South Korea, Please Give Some Fertilizer,” lack of fertilizer and soaring prices of fertilizer have severely affected the ability of North Korean farmers to grow crops. Since South Korea suspended fertilizer assistance in 2008, state-owned farms as well as small private farms have been having difficulties obtaining fertilizer because of high prices. The author emphasizes that if the South Korean government is not making decision, NGOs should send the DPRK fertilizer, saying it is not late to help them even though the ideal time to send fertilizer is in March. For more information, click here.


Op-ed: It Is A Matter of Responsibility, Pragmatism

July 6, 2011

In this opinion piece “It is a matter of responsibility, pragmatism,” Rudiger Frank emphasizes that to help those is need is a simple human imperative. He acknowledges that the concern that food is diverted is wide-spread, but says “it makes very little sense” because foreign rice is eaten by the elite, shifting domestic rice to the markets. Non-elite food items like corn go directly to the poor. He also says that regimes don’t change during food shortages; they change when the population no longer has to worry about hunger and instead begins to behave like consumers. He adds that there is no doubt that North Koreans are suffering from a lack of staple food, and emphasizes again that “food aid is a human imperative.” For more information, click here.

 

North Korea Asks AlertNet to Help Mobilizing Food Aid

July 6, 2011

According to AltertNet, North Korea has appealed for food aid to the Thomson Reuters Foundation and AlertNet, which is its network of international agencies, to help mobilize emergency aid to prevent severe food shortages in North Korea. Alertnet says it has received a request from Hwang Hyon Chol, director of North Korea’s Economy and Trade Information Centre, saying that North Korea needs food to feed orphanages in Wonsan, Sariwon etc, and it requested 100,000 metric tons of any kind of cereals by late August. For more information, click here.

 

Rice Price Quadruples in North Korea

July 6, 2011

According to Bloomberg News, The Korea Development Institute reports that the rice price in North Korea has quadrupled during the last six months from 500 won per kilogram to 2,200 won. The price increase has allegedly been caused by the sluggish economy and the continuing aftermath of the currency reform. For more information, click here.

 

U.S. and ROK Stand Back from EU Move

July 6, 2011

After EU’s official announcement on Monday that it would provide humanitarian aid to North Korea, Washington and Seoul say they understand the EU’s decision, but adhere to the same stance as before. The South Korean government re-confirmed that inter-Korean relations will be considered before deciding whether to provide food aid to the North. At the same time, the U.S. State Department confirmed that no decisions has made on food aid. For more information, click here.

 

EU Places Food Monitors in DPRK

July 6, 2011

According to this article, the European Union,  which recently decided to provide emergency food aid to North Korea, is planning to dispatch around 50 Korean-speaking monitors to ensure the provided food gets those who in need. For more information, click here.

 

Commentary: Europe Moves

July 5, 2011

In this commentary “Europe Moves,” Stephan Haggard says that EU food assistance will consist of two components: feeding targeted vulnerable people, to be implemented by the WFP, and therapeutic feeding for malnourished children, to be implemented by Save the Children. He says “we cannot know exactly what the EU mission saw” because the report has not been publicized. However, the fact that the EU’s moving forward is evidence that the summer harvest would not improve the food situation all that much and that “thte therapeutic feeding program suggest increasing malnutrition.” For more information, click here.

 

India’s Food Assistance Arrives in the DPRK

July 5, 2011

India’s food donation to the DPRK has arrived in North Korea. Shri Pratap Singh, India’s Ambassador to the DPRK travelled to Nampo port in North Korea to witness the off-loading of 900 metric tons of soy beans and 373 tons of wheat, which are specially targeted to feed women and children. Singh said he was “very happy to see the safe arrival of the food consignment which is needed so urgently here.” For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Government Has No Plans on Food Aid

July 5, 2011

South Korea says the government is still reviewing the necessity and feasibility of food aid to North Korea, but reaffirms that currently it has no plans to resume government-scale food assistance. For more information, click here.

 

EU to Send Food Aid to North Korea

July 4, 2011

The European Commission of the EU has decided to provide food aid to North Korea. After dispatching its own assessment team to the DPRK, it has concluded that there is a need, and it will provide €10 ($14.5M) to distribute food through WFP and Save the Children. The food will be monitored “from port to hospital” to ensure the food reaches to those in need, which will be 650,000 children in hospitals and care homes, breastfeeding women, hospital patients and the elderly. For more information, click here.

 

State Department Says No Decision on Food Aid Yet

June 30, 2011

Mark Toner, State Department spokesman, said in a press briefing that nothing has been decided on food aid and the team is continuing to assess the situation. Toner reaffirmed that Washington hopes to see improvement of inter-Korean relations. For more information, click here.

 

Editorial: Stay Firm But Help North Koreans in Need

June 30, 2011

This Chosun Ilbo editorial emphasizes that “humanitarian assistance is needed to render the government’s principled approach more acceptable to both the South Korean public and the international community.” It notes that 32 percent of North Korean children are stunted and people are suffering from lack of electricity, and concludes that “both the (South Korean) government and civic groups need to offer aid to the North Korean people.” For more information, click here.

 

Commentary: Reports of North Korea Food Shortages Overblown, Say US, South Korea

June 29, 2011

Donald Kirk reports for the Christian Science Monitor that the United States and South Korea are “at odds with” the WFP report over the seriousness of the food shortages in North Korea, citing as evidence of the split a journalist and an anonymous western observer. In addition, this article cites Park Jin-eun, director of the inter-Korean policy division at the ROK Foreign Ministry, it stands firm that food aid should not be provided unless complete transparency is guaranteed. The author adds that the WFP remains concerned at the level of food stocks and the health of the most vulnerable women and children. For more information, click here.

 

WFP: DPR Korea: Orphan Hyon-Gil Stays Healthy Thanks to WFP Support

June 29, 2011

The WFP released a short article on one of the beneficiaries of the WFP’s emergency operation. Hyon-Gil is a 14-year-old student who stays at a boarding school in Jaeryung City and he is given nutritious snacks from WFP in the morning and afternoon. Although he says that the main meal is not really enough for him and he is hungry all day, he says he tries as hard as he can at school. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea: “Building up to New Hunger Crisis”

June 28, 2011

Katharina Zellweger, an officer at the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and one of the most experienced aid workers, said food rations in North Korea have been drastically cut to as low as 150 grams a day. She added she had seen a lot of ‘malnourished children,’ on her recent travel around the country, saying “What we had this year is many small shocks which is building up to new crisis." For more information, click here.

 

ABC News: North Korean Children Begging, Army Starving (Video)

June 27, 2011

According to this article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, North Korean children are begging for food in markets and that even people from the North Korean army—which usually don’t suffer from food shortages—are hungry. Jiro Ishimaru, the man who obtained the video from another trained undercover reporter [for his publication, Rimjinkang], said that “this footage is important because it shows that Kim Jong il’s regime is growing weak.” To read the story and see the video, click here.

 

Tropical Storm Hits Korean Peninsula

June 27, 2011

According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the tropical storm Meari hit the ROK over the weekend, leaving at least nine people dead and three people missing, including a toddler. Meari then moved north to the DPRK, where it struck some areas of Kaesong and Haeju, including Ongjin and Sepho. For more information, click here.

 

KCNA: Typhoon-5 Hits DPRK

June 26, 2011

Typhoon-5 Meari hit Korea, resulting in 105 mm of rainfall, the highest on record in Hoeyang County, and more than 70 mm in several other counties.  For more information, click here.

 

 Secretary of State Says No Hasty Decision on Food Aid

June 24, 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear that the United States will not resume food aid unless North Koreaguarantees food distribution transparency and resolves the issues on the previous food aid that had been suspended in 2009. She added that the United States would not engage North Korea until the two Koreas make move to resolve disputes between the two nations. For more information, click here.

 

Will N. Korea See Severe Floods This Year?

June 24, 2011

According to this Korea Times article, Park Hyun-seok, secretary-general of the Korea NGO Council for cooperation with North Korea (KNCCNK) is concerned about possible floods that might be caused in North Korea by seasonal rain called “jang-ma,” which usually ends in mid-July. He said South Korean groups were ready to mobilize provide aid for  vulnerable people if it’s possible. For more information, click here.

 

DREF Operation Final Report 

June 23, 2011

A report released on June 23, 2011 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) contains allocations of DREF on flood aid to the DPRK in 2010. The funds were used to support and rebuild areas in Sinuiju city that were severely affected by the flood. To see the report, click here.

 

Seoul Requests the US to Resume Food Aid at Least after Inter-Korean Talks

June 22, 2011

According to JoongAng Daily, South Korea told the United States that Seoul wouldn’t mind if Washington gives food aid to North Korea, but only after the North agrees to have inter-Korean talks. According to the source, Seoul is concerned that if the United States provides food assistance to North Korea before inter-Korean talks resumes, it might give the wrong signal to Pyongyang to pursue North Korea- U.S. talks instead of inter-Korean talks. For more information, click here.

 

UN Official Calls for Aid to North Korea

June 21, 2011

Valerie Amos, head of the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs, made an urgent call to provide aid to North Korea without consideration for the political situation saying that “We are really facing a very, very serious situation.” She added that approximately $210 million is needed to combat dire food shortage in North Korea, but only 15% is currently covered. For more information, click here.


U.S. Food Assessment Team Draws Tentative Conclusion

June 20, 2011

According to DongA Il-bo, the United States has made a preliminary decision based on the results of the assessment team’s trip that North Korea is not suffering a “comprehensive food crisis”, but certain provinces are in need for food. A final decision will be made after reviewing the results from the U.S. team and EU team. For more information, click here.

 

German NGO Expert Says South Korean NGOs Should Provide Food Aid to the North

June 19, 2011

Wolfgang Gerstner, a German representative for the international aid group Caritas, said that “South Korea’s relief agencies should seek any possible ways to send food aid to North Korea.” He added that the South Korean government should allow private sectors to provide assistance to North Korea regardless of political reasons, saying “West Germany never stopped humanitarian and to East Germany even during the time they had political debates.” For more information, click here.

 

South Korea and US to Discuss Food Assistance to North Korea

June 17, 2011

According to KBS News, on June 13, South Korean Foreign Ministry officials met with Joseph Donovan from State Department and Robert King, the Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, to discuss food assistance to North Korea. Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung Hwan and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will hold bilateral foreign ministerial talks on June 24. They are expected to discuss food aid and nuclear issues. For more information, click here.

 

U.S. Congressmen Is Seeking A Legislation against Food Aid

June 17, 2011

U.S. Congressmen, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), are exerting their efforts to pass legislation blocking food aid to North Korea. Rep. Royce offered an ammendement to the agriculture appropriations bill  on June 16.  The amendment passed by voice vote. Rep. Royce said that U.S. aid would “prop up Kim’s regime” and “it will only feed the military, not ordinary people in need.” However, according to the media, South Korean embassy officials said the passage of the bill was “only the start of a long legal process”, saying “it is hard to predict when the House of Representatives will come up with the final version of the bill that also requires approval by the Senate.” For more information, click here.


U.S. Worries about Distribution of Possible Food Aid

June 7, 2011

The U.S. government is worried about possible food diversion to the North Korean military and food not reaching its intended recipients. According to Yonhap News, Mark Toner, the spokesman of the State Department, said that the dispatched U.S. food assessment team is back and assessing the food security based on their data, but emphasized the U.S. government still has not made any decision, saying “assessment is one side of it.” For more information, click here.

 

EU to Dispatch a Food Assessment Team to NK

June 6, 2011

Following  the U.S. food assessment team to North Korea, the EU sent a team to North Korea to assess food shortages from June 6 to June 17. According to Yonhap News, the five-member team from the humanitarian aid department of the European Commission will be divided into two groups to reach as many areas in the North as possible. For more information, click here.


US Envoy Voices Concerns on Food Aid to North Korea

June 4, 2011

Ambassador Robert King, the US Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea, testified at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on June 2 that the United States was still deciding whether to provide food aid, and if they provide food aid, it will be based on three principles: the real need, prioritization based on other countries in need and  monitoring transparency. He added that “If the [U.S.] team determines there is a legitimate humanitarian need, [North Korea] must first address our serious concerns about monitoring and outstanding issues related to our previous food program.” For more information, click here.

 

The Elders Releases A Report on Its Visit to Korean Peninsula 

June 3, 2011

The Elders released a report after its visit to Korean Peninsula in April--Jimmy Carter (former US President), Martti Ashtisaari (former Finnish President), Mary Robinson (former Irish President), and Gro Brundtland (former Norwegian Prime Minister). It reviews security and humanitarian situation on the Korean Peninsula based on their April trip. According to the report, The Elders concluded that recent assessments from World Food Program (WFP), the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF, and US NGOs to be credible. To quote Gro Brundtland, he said that "Food security is one of a number of health issues that need to be addressed. ....The DPRK needs to invest in water and sanitation systems, medical services and the provision of basic medicines to deal with these health problems." For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Food Aid: A Basic Human Right

June 2, 2011

In this commentary piece, “Food aid: A basic human right,” Bae Myung-bok urges the international community to provide food aid to North Korea, and argues that U.S. resumption of food aid will cause a dramatic difference because it will lead to other European countries participating. here.

  

Opinion: Food Aid to North Korea

June 2, 2011

In this op-ed “Food aid to North Korea” Sung Jae-sang emphasizes that South Korea should provide food aid to North Korea to prevent international criticism that they have let the North Koreans starve. He says the current South Korean government’s hard-line policy towards the North caused a ‘dangerous confrontation’ between the two Koreas, and it only made the North to be more dependent on China for its survival. He adds that “We are ashamed that the Lee Myung-bak government has even opposed the U.S. offering food aid to the suffering North Korean brethren.” For more information, click here.


Diplomats Are Skeptical of NK’s Food Shortage Claims

May 30, 2011

On May 27, Diplomats/Ambassadors to Seoul or Pyongyang from several countries gathered in Seoul to exchange their experience and a variety of opinions on North Korea. Paul Menkveld, Dutch ambassador to Seoul, who had traveled North Korea a week prior to the meeting, said that he could not believe North Korea was experiencing food shortage even since they have great tracks of land under cultivation. Diplomats and ambassadors in the meeting said the lact of information is the biggest obstacle for North Korean progress. Dusan Bella, Slovakian ambassador to Seoul, said South Korea should operate as many channels as possible so that they can deliver information of outside the world to North Koreans. For more information, click here.

 

EU Forms A Team to Assess Food Situation in NK

May 29, 2011

The European Union plans to dispatch a team to assess the food shortage in North Korea, right after the US delegation finishes its work. According to the source that Yonhap News quoted, the team will be compromised of staff from the humanitarian aid department of the European Commission. For more information, click here.

 

Ambassador King’s Remarks Upon Arrival in China

May 28, 2011

Robert R. King, Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, made short remarks in Beijing about the U.S. delegation to the DPRK. He announced that Mr. Jun had been released and reported that the delegation had “three and a half days of very serious and thoughtful talks with the Foreign Ministry” and that they met with people at the highest levels. King emphasized that no decision had been made on food aid; the decision will be made in Washington. A field team is remaining in the DPRK until the end of next week. To read the full statement, click here. To watch the video, click here.

 

Opinion: Top 10 Reasons North Korea Should Be Refused Food Aid

May 28, 2011

IBTIMES posted an opinion piece on why North Korea should be refused food aid, supporting with ten reasons that have been consistently raised among experts: North Korea is secretly stockpiling food; the food shortage is not as serious as North Korea claims; food aid is a hindrance to economic reform; food aid will be used to feed the military; accurate monitoring is impossible; food aid will feed the elite only; North Korea’s past attacks on the South should be taken into consideration; North Korea’s violations of international agreements should be taken into consideration; aid will fund the DPRK’s nuclear program; food aid will prevent North Korea from moving forward. For more information, click here.


South Korean NGOs Visit The North to Discuss Food Aid

May 27, 2011

Six South Korean NGO officials visited North Korea to have a discussion with their counterparts on food aid. The Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea said that “this visit was in response to an invitation made by the North Korean office for the Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation,” which has offices in the two Koreas. The NGOs have received permission on visit to the North from the South Korean government, and is planning to discuss transparency on food aid distribution. For more information, click here. 


UN Humanitarian Chief Has Positive Thoughts on Food Aid to North Korea

May 25, 2011

Valerie Amos, U.N. Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, emphasized that humanitarian assistance to North Korea should be solely based on needs, and added that the international community should provide food aid if needed. Amos said she would soon decide how much money from the Central Emergency Response Fund to assign for North Koreans. For more information, click here.

 

South Korea's Local Governments Resume Medical Aid to North Korea

May 24, 2011

Two South Korean local governments, Gyeonggi Province and the city of Incheon, sent anti-malaria supplies to North Korea. This is the first time these local government bodies have sent aid to North Korea since the North shelled South Korean Yeonpyeong Island last November. For more information, click here. 


Some US Senators Skeptical about USG Assessment Team

May 24, 2011

After the State Department announced its plan to send a food assessment team to North Korea, four senators—John McCain, Jon Kyl, Jim Webb, Joseph Lieberman— wrote a joint letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raising their concern that North Korea would use food aid as a “political weapon.” In the letter, the senators said “until the concerns over the safety of South Koreans are completely addressed, the U.S. government should not take any measure that could fortify the Kim’s regime.” For more information, click here.

 

U.S. Will Provide Food Aid under Five Principles

May 23, 2011

The US government will adheres to its five principles in deciding whether or not to resume food aid to North Korea: timing, scale, purpose, items and methods. According to Dong-A Ilbo, the United States has determined that it will send food aid after summer; that there will be no massive amounts of aid over a short period; aid will be sent to identified social groups; and it will consist of items that the DPRK will not want stockpile.  Monitoring will be stronger than previous WFP monitoring regimes. Dong-A Ilbo quoted an unnamed source saying “By choosing to provide aid after May or June, or the time the World Food Program claimed that food in the North will be depleted, Washington will show that it does not accept results of the U.N. food agency’s inspection results as they are.” For more information, click here.

 

U.S. Dispatches  Food Assessment Team to North Korea

May 21, 2011

The United States has sent a delegation to North Korea to assess food security. The delegation, led by Robert King and including several officials from USAID, is going to travel regions to assess the needs. They will also meet with North Korean officials to discuss human rights issues. Mark Toner, the State Department’s spokesman. said that trip to North Korea “doesn’t necessarily mean that we will provide food assistance, but it’s the first step in evaluating the need.” For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: A Human Rights Envoy to Assess North Korea’s Food Situation

May 20, 2011

In this opinion piece “A Human Rights Envoy to Assess North Korea’s Food Situation,” Scott Snyder points out four intriguing aspects of Ambassador King’s mission:  North Korea has not previously acknowledged human rights as a legitimate topic for bilateral discussion; while King might be a good spokesperson for the administration, given his decades of relationships on the Hill, some might criticize detailing a political appointee as head of the mission; the DPRK might mistakenly see the discussion of food aid as a signal of U.S. willingness to return to talks on other issues and, finally, the range of human rights issues is broad. North Korea’s abductions have been receiving a lot of media attention thanks to a recent report. For more information, click here.

 

Senators’ Letter to the Secretary of State

May 20, 2011

As the State Department announced that it would dispatch a delegation led by Robert King to North Korea to assess the food security, four senators –John McCain, Jon Kyl, Jim Webb and  Joseph Lieberman—wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the administration to carefully consider whether aid could fortify the Kim Jong Il regime. The letter is available here

 

EU to Consider Dispatching an Assessment Team to North Korea

May 20, 2011

The European Union (E.U.) is mulling over sending a team to North Korea to assess the seriousness of food shortages. It is anticipated that the E.U. will decide whether to provide food aid after it gets result from the team. For more information, click here.

 

A German Aid Group Provides Food Aid to North Korea

May 19, 2011

According to Voice of America, Cap Anamu, a German aid group has sent 150 metric tons of rice to South Pyeongan Province and 50 metric tons of rice to South Hwanghae Province each. The rice is currently being distributed and the German aid group has sent monitoring staff.  For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Professor Challenges WFP Report

May 19, 2011

South Korea’s Korea University Professor, Yoo Ho Yeol has called the the recent World Food Program is inadequate and distorted.  At a meeting organized by a lawmaker of Grand National Party of South Korea, Professor Yoo pointed out that the research has been made after the harvest and in the hardest-hit areas, giving a distorted view of the needs. But the views at the conference were divided. For example, Kwon Tae Jin of the Korea Rural Economic Institute, while noting that North Korea is ultimately responsible for its food shortages, “Humanitarian aid must go to those who need it.” For more information, click here.

 

UN Makes Urgent Call for Help for North Korea

May 19, 2011

A senior United Nations food agency official urged South Korea to help North Korea. Claudia von Roehl, the WFP director in Pyongyang, remarked that North Korea is in dire need of help and vowed a robust monitoring regime to prevent the diversion of food. For more information, click here.

 

South Korean Christian Group Delivers Unauthorized Assistance to North Korea

 May 18, 2011

The National Council of Churches (NCC), a South Korean Christian group, sent food aid to North Korea through Amity, a Chinese aid group. NCC staff met with North Korean officials in China to discuss the aid package.  NCC had not received South Korean government approval for the meeting with the North Koreans, meaning the meeting was in violation of South Korean law. The shipment of 172 metric tons of flour is worth 100 million won ($91,700).  Amity officials are planning to visit North Korea to ensure the food reaches intended recipients. For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Maintains Stance on Food Aid

May 18, 2011

South Korea adheres to its posture of not providing government-funded large-scale food assistance. A Ministry of Unification spokeswoman said providing government scale of food aid is not only related to the humanitarian situation in the DPRK, but also inter-Korean relations. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Feed North Korea

May 18, 2011

This Joong Ang Daily editorial, “Feed North Korea,” says Seoul should provide food aid to North Korea for two reasons: humanitarian concern and strategic reasons.  Ordinary North Koreans are innocent and shouldn’t suffer from hunger. At the same time, South Korea should embrace its neighbor who “shares the same blood, language and history.” In addition, South Korea should accept North Korea as a partner for a ‘common future,’ and food aid can be a ‘stepping stone’ toward that future. For more information, click here.

 

Gangdong County Hit by Spring Shortages

May 17, 2011

According to the Daily NK, which recently interviewed a North Korean woman, people started to die because of food shortage in Gangdong county. The interview says there has been little distribution of food from the North Korean government over past few months, and ordinary people don’t have money to buy food at markets. For more information, click here.

 

Stephen Bosworth Is Expected to Visit Seoul to Discuss Food Aid

May 13, 2011

Stephen Bosworth, U.S. State Department Special Representative for North Korea Policy, will meet the South Korean foreign minister to discuss food aid and inter-Korean relations. According to KBS news, Sung Kim, U.S. Special Envoy for the Six-Party Talks, and Sydney Seiler, U.S. national Security Council's Director for Asian Affairs, are expected to accompany him. For more information, click here.

 

 WFP Report Debate Is on Fire

May 13, 2011

A World Food Programme report assessing North Korea’s food crisis has been questioned by Nicholas Eberstadt from AEI (American Enterprise Institute). At the Heritage Foundation meeting on May 11, Eberstadt criticized theWFP report for not having enough information. He added that to diagnose a food crisis in North Korea, ‘a lot more information is needed’ including the mortality rate, people’s height and weight, and children’s nutritional state, instead of a food balance sheet or ‘untrustworthy’ information from the North Korean government. For more information, click here.

 

 Fox News’ 'On the Record' Broadcasts Live from North Korea on Food Crisis

May 12, 2011

An ‘On the Record’ team from Fox news visited North Korea to take a look at its food crisis, accompanying Reverend Franklin Graham, chairman of Samaritan’s Purse. Franklin Graham, who had asserted in a previous Fox News interview, North Korea is in great need of help, emphasized that now is the time to give. Otherwise, North Korea will start to run out of food from June and about 6 million people will be affected. He added that U.S. citizens should know more about North Korea, and the North Korean government should allow more access to show Americans the lives of ordinary people in North Korea. For more information, click here.

 

Op-ed: North Korea: Food for Hungry, Or Food for A Party?

May 12, 2011

In this opinion piece, “North Korea: food for hungry, or food for a party?,” Dale McFeatters says “North Korea is starving ― again ―” and emphasizes the U.S. should provide food aid only if North Korea adheres to what it said on allowing outside monitoring. He added that Washington should not pressure Seoul to give aid, because “the South has had its good intentions thrown back in its face too many times.” For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Let Them Eat Maize Husks

May 12, 2011

In this op-ed “Let them eat maize husks,” the author provides examples of people's disagreement over North Korea’s food security. However, the author concludes that "Arguing is pointless. Widespread malnutrition and starvation in at least some parts of the country is a reality in North Korea." For more information, click here.

 

 South Korea Approves More Private Humanitarian Aid to North Korea

May 9, 2011

Five more civic groups have been given permission to send bread, soymilk, and basic medical supplies including anti-malaria medicine. Chun Hae-sung, the spokesman of Ministry of Unification, added that the South Korean government is planning to review more humanitarian aid to infants and vulnerable people. For more information, click here.

 

Food Is Running Out in North Korea

May 6, 2011

Reverend Franklin Graham, chairman of Samaritan’s Purse, had an interview with Fox News in which he asserted that food is running out in North Korea and that the DPRK is in great need of food. He added food assistance is for the people who have no choice, and said the US government should not withhold food or use it as a weapon. He also emphasized the separation of food assistance from politics, saying “food should not be held to try to push them to whatever table we want them to come to.” For more information, click here.

 

USIP Conference on Food Aid

May 5, 2011

At the May 5, 2011, USIP (United States Institute of Peace) held a meeting "To Give or Not to Give: What's Driving the Current Deliberations on DPRK Food Aid?" Andrew Natsios, a professor at Georgetown University, suggested 11 protocols for providing any food program in the DPRK, but emphasized “We are running this program for the people who are the victims of the North Korean government.” Dr. Marcus Noland, deputy director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, suggested the aid should continue, even though it would benefit the regime. Venerable Pomnyun Sunim, a chairman of Good Friends for Peace, Human Rights, and Refugee Issues, emphasized food aid should be provided, saying the situation is worse than that of 2008. 

A summary of the program is available here

 

South Korean Buddhist Monks Delivered Medical Aid to North Korea

May 4, 2011

With the South Korean government’s approval, a delegation of 10 South Korean monks crossed the heavily fortified border and delivered 100,000 tablets of vermifuge (a drug for expelling worms from the intestinal tract) and infant formula to North Korean monks. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: North Korea’s People Are Starving, And They Need Our Help

May 3, 2011

In this opinion piece “North Korea’s people are starving, and they need our help,” Andy Liang says the North Korean regime does not deserve pity, but emphasizes that we need to keep humanitarian efforts separate from foreign policy. He says “help should be available everywhere,” and providing food on a political basis prevents aids from reaching the right people. For more information, click here.

 

U.N. to Strengthening Food Distribution Monitoring in the DPRK

May 3, 2011

According to The Korea Herald, the WFP is going to tighten monitoring of food distribution in North Korea by increasing the number of resident personnel in North Korea. Meanwhile, the WFP announced last Friday that it would “include the highest standards of monitoring and control to ensure that food gets to where it is needed.” For more information, click here.

 

US Is Not Withholding Food Aid from North Korea

April 30, 2011

US officials have denied Carter’s accusation that the US is withholding food aid from North Korea, saying that the “North Korean government is responsible for the plight of its people.” Darragh Paradiso, a state department spokesperson added that the US remained “concerned about the well being of the North Korean people,” saying providing emergency humanitarian assistance is a long-standing goal of the U.S. For more information, click here.

Carter Accuses S.Korea, U.S. of Withholding Food from N.Korea

April 29, 2011

At a press conference in Seoul on Thursday, Jimmy Carter, the former president of the United States, said "one of the most important human rights is to have food to eat, and for South Korea and the US and others to deliberately withhold food aid to the North Korean people is really a human rights violation," after his three-day visit to North Korea. Some South Koreans criticized these remarks from Carter, saying that he ignored the North’s responsibility for human rights violation. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Not A Political Tool

April 29, 2011

In this opinion piece, author emphasizes the urgency of humanitarian aid, says there is no reason for President Obama to make the same mistake as what President Lee is making. The author acknowledges the North’s responsibility for its food shortages and also understands the South’s fury, but says “No matter how much the world despises the regime, that can’t be allowed to happen again,” taking an example of nearly one million people’s deaths during the famine in the 1990s. For more information, click here.

 

UN Launches Emergency Food Aid Program in North Korea

April 29, 2011

The United Nations World Food Program says it will begin emergency operations in North Korea to provide food aid. Emilia Casella, the WFP spokeswoman said 3.5 million people in North Korea are in dire need of food after the harsh winter and poor crops last year. WFP added that the aid operation will include a high level of monitoring to ensure the food reaches those who needed. For more information, click here.

 

 An Aid Group Says North Korea Will Run out of Food in June

April 29, 2011
Ken Isaacs, Vice President of Samaritan's Purse said on April 27 that North Korea is in dire need of food aid and will run out of food in mid-June, according to its assessment. He added it would be impossible to arrange the shipment in time to meet the shortfall, since it takes about three months to get food from the United States to people in the DPRK. For more information, click here.

China Makes A Remark on Aid to North Korea

April 28, 2011

According to Arirang News, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister, Fu Ziying, spoke in detail about the previous Chinese aid to North Korea. It has included providing chemical fertilizer, crude oil, and even infrastructure support, such as materials for the subway system of Pyongyang. However, he emphasized that no cash has given even North Korea has been at the forefront of Chinese foreign aid. For more information, click here.

 

US Has Decided Nothing on Food Aid to North Korea

April 28, 2011

At a forum hosted by the American Enterprise Institute on Wednesday, Robert King, the U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, remarked that the U.S. had not yet made a decision about the resumption of food aid. For more information, click here.

 

WFP Reportedly Considers Quadrupling North Korean Food Aid Recipients

April 22, 2011

According to Arirang News, the UN World Food Program is reportedly considering increasing the amount of the food aid and quadrupling the number of aid recipients. Reportedly, the WFP posted an article that they quickly removed that said it would provide food aid at a cost of $250M to North Korea. For more information, click here.

 

One-third of North Koreans Suffered from Malnutrition

April 21, 2011

Yonhap News Agency cited a recent report from the World Bank that said “33 percent of North Korea’s population of 24 million suffered from malnutrition between 2005 and 2009." According to the report, one-third of North Koreans suffered from malnutrition and most children under 5 were stunted. ” For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Should we feed North Korea?

April 21, 2011

In this opinion piece, “Should we feed North Korea?” Dorothy Stuehmke says that the U.S. government should provide food aid only if North Korea allows strict monitoring of the distribution of food aid as they did in 2008. The writer includes her personal food aid monitoring experience in North Korea, and concludes “we should not miss this opportunity” of preserving people’s lives and diplomatic engagement with an ‘otherwise unreachable population’ in North Korea. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Is North Korea Starving in 2011?; Investigation into North Korea's food reality (Part 1)

April 20, 2011

Jeong Jae Sung  in the The Daily NK cites specific numbers from the WFP and the National Intelligence Service regarding North Korea’s 2010 harvest. He then quotes from unnamed sources to analyze the distribution of food inside the DPRK and concludes the situation in North Korea that “food which should be in North Korean state grain silos is not and the authorities’ practical capacity to meet demand is falling, market prices have stabilized and begun to fall, and rice there is in reasonably good supply” For more information, click here.

 

New Outbreak of FMD in North Korea

April 20, 2011

According to Yonhap News Agency, there was a new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease last month in four counties in North Korea. The report cited Voice of America, saying Pyongyang quarantined the infected area to prevent further spread of the disease. For more information, click here.

 

 South Korea Approves More Civilian Aid to North Korea

April 20, 2011

According to The Korea Times, the South Korean government approved humanitarian aid from two more groups; ‘Okedongmu and Children in Korea,’ and ‘the Korea Association of People Sharing Love.’ The two NGO will each send medical supplies and food for orphans. Meanwhile, The Ministry of Unification announced it is continuing to review civilian groups’ applications to send humanitarian aid, and 20 requests are still pending. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Food Aid to North Korea: Time Is Not Right

April 18, 2011

In this opinion piece, “Food Aid to North Korea: Time Is Not Right” Bruce Klingner explains why now is not the right time to provide food aid to North Korea, supporting his opinion with the following: Diversion to the military remains a concern; Strict verification is a minimum requirement; Pyongyang’s violation of UN resolutions cannot be ignored, and U.S. and South Korean aid must be coordinated. He concludes that North Korea is in need of food, but providing food aid is not yet a good idea, saying “Until North Korea changes its behavior, international food aid is best distributed elsewhere.” For more information, click here.

 

'Para' Bacteria Spreading in Pyongyang

April 18, 2011

According to Daily NK, Paratyphoid Fever is spreading in Pyongyang. Paratyphus, or Paratyphoid Fever spreads through water, but North Korea is having trouble bringing the disease under control because of old water and sewer pipes and limited water treatment chemicals. For more information, click here.

  

Editorial: North Korea’s ‘Chronic Crisis’

April 16, 2011

This editoral “North Korea’s ‘chronic crisis’,” points out North Korea’s repeated chronic food crisis and asserts the complete responsibility for food shortages is the North Korean government itself. The author does not make a conclusive argument on whether or not to provide food aid. However, he argues that by “holding out for an apology for the attacks in 2010, is not Seoul making the same mistake as Pyongyang, and forcing the innocent to pay for the deeds of the guilty?.” The author emphasizes that while the pain is largely ‘self-inflicted, ’ the suffering of millions of ordinary people is “too high a price to pay.” For more information, click here.

 

US is Likely to Decide on Food Aid to NK in Few Weeks

April 15, 2011

According to KBS World news, the U.S. government hopes to decide whether to resume food aid to North Korea by the end of April. As North Korea has already entered the ‘spring austerity season,’ and it can take up to two months to deliver, the aid impact could be reduced. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Alliance Politics: Legislating Hunger

April 14, 2011

In this opinion piece on 38th North, Ambassador Morton Abramowitz argues that "The South Korean government should stop blocking American food aid to large numbers of their brethren in the North facing starvation." Referring to the Reagan doctrine separating politics from humanitarian policy, he concludes "It would be unthinkable for the U.S. to follow the South in allowing large numbers of people, who will one day be South Korea’s fellow citizens, to die or to be permanently maimed by malnutrition."  To read the article, click here.
 

Opinion: The Logic and Illogic of Food Aid

April 14, 2011

In this opinion piece on 38th North,  Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland explore four arguments against providing food aid: the situation is not that bad; providing aid strengthens the regime; the DPRK wants to stockpile grain for 2012, and food aid should be withheld until adequate monitoring regime has been negotiated.To read the article, click here.
 

South Koreans from Five Religious Groups Urge Food Aid to North Korea

April 13, 2011

The Association of Religious Workers for Peace and Reconciliation for the Korean People held a press conference on Tuesday, and urged the South Korean government to resume humanitarian aid to North Korea. The representatives presented a petition with the signatures of 658 people from five religious groups in South Korea. Meanwhile, one South Korean government official said South Korea was currently not considering providing food aid to North Korea. For more information, click here.

 

 Opinion: North Korea's Pleas for Food Aid Draw Suspicion

April 12, 2011

 In her commentary “North Korea’s Pleas for Food Aid Draw Suspicion,” Louisa Lim reports the co-existence of fears and suspicion about North Korea’s request for food aid. The author says that on the one hand there is fear that North Koreans could die in the so-called ‘lean session’ that lasts from May to July. However, some analysts suspect that the DPRK could be asking for food only in order to increase or replenish their stores for 2012, by which time they have said that the DPRK will be a 'Strong and Prosperous Nation'. Lim concludes “Hard choices lie ahead: Food aid could help the survival of the regime, but withholding it will cost lives.” For more information, click here.

 

 UNSG Urges South Korea to Resume Food Aid to North Korea

April 8, 2011

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said at a press conference that South Korea’s humanitarian aid to the North should continue even though two military provocations had happened last year. He said “It’s time for the South Korean government to positively consider sending food aid to North Korea.” For more information, click here.

 

UNICEF: Report by UN Agencies Highlights Food Crisis in Democratic People's Republic of Korea

April 8, 2011

This UNICEF release, “Report by UN agencies highlights food crisis in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” expresses concern over North Korea’s food situation. UNICEF Nutrition Specialist Mandana Arabi urges “Think about a population that's totally dependent on rations from the government, and we know that these rations are going to run out,” For more information, click here.

 

Red Cross Helps DPRK Citizens to Boost Food Security

April 7, 2011

According to the IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), IFRC have helped North Koreans to boost food security in the DPRK. They have been running several programs to help communities mitigate damage from flooding and increase their capacity to generate high-quality and diverse food. The IFRC has also distributed medicines and nutrition tablets to vulnerable populations such as women and children. For more information, click here.

 

 Opinion: Defectors Question Official Aid Calls

April 6, 2011

In this opinion piece, “Defectors Question Official Aid Calls” Kang Mi Jin quotes what defectors say and expresses her doubts about North Korea’s current food shortage and the real intention of food aid request, even though various voices have been raised saying that North Korea is in need of help. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Food Prices Dropping on Yuan Stability

April 6, 2011

In “Food Prices Dropping on Yuan Stability,” Mok Young Jae sayst the price of grain in North Korea’s markets is actually declining. He quoted a domestic source, saying “There are sufficient supplies of rice in the market, so as long as you have money you can buy it anytime.” Yet Kwon Tae Jin, Vice-Director of the Korean Economic Research Institute said this price decrease was tied to exchange rate fluctuations, particularly the yuan and therefore would be temporary. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Parsing the WFP/FAO Report

April 5, 2011

In this opinion piece, “Parsing the WFP/FAO Report” Marcus Noland and Stephan Haggard reviews the report, raising several concerns regarding the sufficiency of information and WFP’s overall approach. While concluding that food aid, under the right conditions, is still warranted, they recommend “a dialogue on the larger question of why North Korea is once again in these circumstances,” adding that a “‘chronic emergency’ is an oxymoron.” For more information, click here.

 

 Opinion: An NGO Breaks Ranks

April 4, 2011

In this opinion piece, “An NGO Breaks Ranks” Stephan Haggard introduces two different perspectives concerning North Korea’s food security, one based on the NGO reports released February, and the other on the German NGO Welthungerhilfe, as reported on Daily NK. He agrees with Welthungerhilfe’s skepticism that “North Korea would benefit far more from overall agricultural reform than from never-ending food aid,” but also points out we can’t conclude the lack of food in the public distribution indicates country-wide food shortages. For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Approves More Private Aid to North Korea

April 4, 2011

In continuation with last week’s approvals, the South Korean government has given approval for two more NGO shipments targeting vulnerable populations in the DPRK. Chun Hae-Sung, spokesman of the Ministry of Unification, said that two shipments each from World Vision and the Join Together Society will be sent to day care centers in the Northeastern and Midwestern provinces in North Korea after April 20. The packages include $161,734 worth of porridge and baby formula. For more information, click here.

 

 Opinion: Good News and Bad News from the Korean Peninsula

April 3, 2011

In this opinion piece, “Good News and Bad News from the Korean Peninsula” Ambassador Gregg points out “good news,” such as the significant strengthening of the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea and “bad news,” such as not enough engagement with North Korea. He expresses his concern about ‘strategic patience,’ saying that it has resulted in dangerous situations on the Korean Peninsula. He promotes U.S. and South Korean government agreement on food aid, saying that providing food aid to North Korea would stop starvation, as well as be a starting point for resumption of dialogues with Pyongyang. For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Approves Additional Humanitarian Aid to North Korea

April 1, 2011

The Ministry of Unification has given approval to the Korean Sharing Movement to send the first food shipment to North Korea. It consists of $27,000 worth of bread, milk powder and candies for children. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Aid for North Koreans Must Not Be Delayed

March 31, 2011

In this opinion piece, “Aid for North Koreans Must Not Be Delayed” the Republican Editorials argues that aid should be provided to North Koreans even though the world sees the possibility of North Korea’s diversion of food aid again. This opinion piece supports the validity of international worry, but emphasizes “seeing that much of it gets to the people who are facing death is what matters.” For more information, click here.

 

South Korea Approves Civilian Humanitarian Aid to North Korea

March 31, 2011

An anonymous South Korean Ministry of Unification official said on Monday that South Korea has approved the first humanitarian aid from a civil society since North Korea’s Yeonpyeong island shelling in November. The approval amount is $305,000 worth of tuberculosis medicine from the Eugene Bell Foundation. The official added seven more groups are awaiting approval to send humanitarian aid to North Korea, but South Korean government has no plans to fund the civilian assistance. For more information, click here.

 

U.S. Officials to Take First-Hand Look at North Korea's Food Situation

March 31, 2011

The U.S. plans to send a fact-finding team to North Korea to assess the food situation and determine if it should provide food aid. The U.S. government had planned to make its decision when the WFP report was released, but it has decided that the WFP survey is not sufficient. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: FMD Update 2

Marcy 30, 2011

In this opinion piece, “FMD Update 2” Stephan Haggard emphasizes the hazards of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) epidemic, and argues that North Korea should bring it under control. He suggests 5 steps to implement an emergency action plan to prevent further risks of FMD, and points out none of them are being done. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: Confirming Aid Consumption Is No.1 Priority

March 29, 2011

In this opinion piece, “Confirming Aid Consumption Is No.1 Priority” an anonymous author argues that given the two reports from American NGOs and WFP, it is a definite fact that North Koreans are hungry. However, he says none of the hunger is caused by South Korea and the international community, but by the North Korean government itself. The author strongly emphasizes that to obtain reliable assurance from the North Korean authorities is the first priority, and food should be provided with strict monitoring and high transparency. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: South Korea’s Humanitarian Dilemma

March 29, 2011

In this opinion piece, “South Korea’s Humanitarian Dilemma” Victor W. Hsu argues that South Korea is faced with several dilemmas regarding the resumption of food aid to North Korea: NGOs and WFP reports make it hard to ignore North Korea’s hunger, while South Korea’s policy toward North Korea makes it hard for South Korea to resume food aid easily. Meanwhile, ROK civil society is advocating for a resumption of food aid, which puts pressure on the South Korean government. The author argues that ROK should remember the words of President Reagan, “A hungry child knows no politics.” For more information, click here.

 

India Provides Humanitarian Assistance to the DPRK

March 25, 2011

In response to the request by North Korea, India has decided to provide humanitarian food assistance to North Korea. The approximate amount of $1 million will be disbursed through the United Nations World Food Programme. For more information, click here.

 

FAO Says Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine Needed in North Korea

March 24, 2011

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says North Korea is in need of vaccines and equipment to block the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. The agency said veterinary experts from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) which recently returned from the North confirmed that there are outbreaks of FMD in the country. For more information, click here.

 

WFP Assessment Released; Sen. Kerry Urges Food Aid

March 24, 2011

WFP released its report of the Rapid Food Security Assessment Mission that took place from early February to mid-March.
The Mission concluded that the DPRK "has suffered a series of shocks in recent months, leaving the country highly
vulnerable to a food crisis. The Public Distribution System (PDS) will run out of food at the beginning of the lean season – May, June, July." To read the report, click here.

Senate John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged the United States to provide carefully monitored food aid to North Korea. He emphasized that the U.S. government's tradition has been to separate humanitarian concerns from politics. He also stressed that aid will reach the intended recipients with a rigorous monitoring program that was first implemented by the Bush Administration. For more information, click here
 
For more humanitarian updates, click here.
 

Opinion: Kim Jong Il and the Hunger Problem

March 16, 2011
 
In this opinion piece, “Kim Jong Il and the Hunger Problem” Morton Abramowitz and Roberta Cohen argue that the U.S. government should resume food aid to North Korea in a humanitarian way. While the authors understand the U.S. government’s hesitation derived from North Korea’s food diversion, they emphasize the United States should adhere to its own principle of hunger knows no politics, as expressed by President Ronald Reagan. For more information, click here.
 

Opinion: North Korea’s Recurrent Humanitarian Crises

March 16, 2011

In this opinion piece, “North Korea’s Recurrent Humanitarian Crises,” Marcus Noland argues that North Koreans need food and humanitarian help from foreign countries, saying that this assistance should be separated from politics. The author analyzed North Korea’s food crisis from an economic perspective, identifying causes such as rising world food prices, the high level of inflation inside North Korea from the failed currency reform, and reduction of supply from the internal market to restore inventories. He argues that the ultimate solution to the food crisis is to revitalize the economy. For more information, click here.
 

FAO/GIEWS DPRK Country Brief Warns of Food Shortages

March 15, 2011

In a GIEWS (Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture) Country Brief based on the February/March WFP/FAO mission that reassessed the food situation following the harsh winter months, the FAO provided the following “food security snapshot:”

- Severe winter is expected to affect winter wheat and spring potato harvests in 2011 and increase the food deficit further

- Rise in international prices of cereals, especially maize, is said to have reduced the country's ability to import needed quantities

- Chronic food insecurity continues throughout the country 

 For the full report, click here 

 

Opinion: To Feed, or Not to Feed

March 10, 2011

In this opinion piece, “To Feed, or Not to Feed,” Patrick M. Cronin and Abraham M. Denmark support America’s policy toward North Korea and its decision not to give food to North Korea. This piece is in response to the opinion piece by Selig Harrison, “'Principled' Hawks Risk North Korea”. The authors refute Harrison’s opinion head-on, insisting that North Korea’s poverty is caused by its own government. At the same time, the authors also emphasize that Washington should remain open to dialogue and continue its humanitarian assistance to those in need, but should not feed Kim’s military. For more information, click here.
 

US Lawmakers Voice Concerns over North Korea Food Aid

March 10, 2011

Several U.S. lawmakers including Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ed Royce, a Republican Congressman from California and Donald Payne, a Democrat from New Jersey have voiced concern over a new North Korean request at a hearing on the North entitled: "North Korea’s Sea of Fire: Bullying, Brinkmanship and Blackmail." Most of them agreed on the fact that North Korea is in serious need for food, but had different opinions about whether or not it should be provided. For more information, click here.
 

 Food Shortage in North Korea Is an International Issue

March 9, 2011

According to IFES(The Institute for Far Eastern Studies), Rodong sinmun reported skyrocketing world food prices to its people, and also reported North Korea’s food shortage as a phenomenon of a global crisis. It also emphasized self-reliance to North Koreans to improve food production. For more information, click here.

FAO Holds Seminars Responding to High Food Prices

March 8, 2011

The FAO, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, is holding a series of seminars in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Near East to help governments respond to rising food prices. Experiences and lessons learnt from the 2008 and 2009 food crisis will be exchanged in the seminars to make countries better aware of high food prices. The two-day regional seminars will be held from March through June. The first seminar will take place in Bangkok on 9-10 March. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea Asking Africa Nations for food

March 8, 2011

According to the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, North Korea recently requested for food aid not only from the United States and European Countries, but also from African countries, such as Zimbabwe. For more information, click here.

Opinion: No Aid for Pyongyang

March 7, 2011

In this opinion piece, “No Aid for Pyongyang” Doug Bandow argues that food aid to North Korea would enrich the regime, saying that “abundant assistance would make it even easier for the regime to ignore the needs of its people,” and empower the North Korean government”. However, he says that the U.S. government should not block aid provided by private groups. For more information, click here
 

UNICEF Released Humanitarian Action for Children 2011: Building Resilience

March 7, 2011

UNICEF(United Nations Children's Fund) launched its new report on humanitarian action for children, requesting $1.4 billion in its annual appeal. This report, targeting 32 countries including North Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Haiti, etc, aims at improving the resilience of communities, especially children. According to Relief Web, “The 32 countries targeted in this appeal have been prioritized based on the scale of the crisis, the severity of its impact on children and women, the chronic or protracted nature of the crisis, and the potential to bring about life-saving and long lasting results.” For more information, click here.

FAO-OIE Team Has Been Sent to North Korea

March 4, 2011

An animal specialists team from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health(OIE) has been sent to North Korea to address Foot-and-Mouth disease(FMD) and to prevent further spread of the disease. The two-week mission began on February 28. For more information, click here

 

Opinion: North Koreans in Desperate Need of Food

March 4, 2011

In this opinion piece, “North Koreans: Still Hungry, Who Cares?” Aidan Foster-Carter argues that although North Korea’s impoverished situation is even worse than the past, ironically, people will be less willing to provide assistance because of recent North Korean provocations. Foster-Carter argues that apart from Kim Jong-Il regime, North Koreans who are in famine desperately need people’s help and they are easily reachable through NGOs. For more information, click here.

 

The United States Considers Resuming Food Aid to North Korea

March 1, 2011

According to the VOA(Voice of America), at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on March 1, Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, Special Representative for North Korea Policy, mentioned that Washington is considering North Korea’s food aid request. Also, Assistant Secretary of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell, said that sending food to starving people is a humanitarian, not a political issue. However, both emphasized that sent food would be monitored and would show its clear mark of U.S. origin. For more information, click here.

Opinion: Kim Jong Il’s Nuclear Resolve

February 28, 2011

In this opinion piece, “Kim Jong Il’s Nuclear Resolve” Jack David and Melanie Kirkpatrick refer to recommendations from Kim Duk-Hong, a defector who served for 16 years as a member of the Korean Workers Party. Kim insists that the world should not provide food aid to North Korea. According to the authors, Mr. Kim argued that to give food to North Korea is the same as supporting North Korea’s nuclear program. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: ROK Faces Dilemma in Responding to DPRK Aid Request

February 24, 2011

In this opinion piece “The Famine Option in North Korea,” Ambassador Christopher Hill says that South Korea is confronted with the wrenching choice of whether to give food to North Korea or not, between the image of starving North Koreans and North Korean provocations. For South Koreans, whether to care for hungry North Koreans will be a much tougher decision that for other countries, as the must recognize malnutrition in North Korea, including mental impairment of children without access to essential vitamins. Hill argues that providing aid could sustain the regime and that allowing the famine to continue could provoke a collapse. He concludes “In the coming weeks, South Korea’s government will confront one of the toughest choices that any government can face: Whether the short-term cost in human lives is worth the potential long-term benefits (also in terms of human lives) that a famine-induced collapse of North Korea could bring.” For more information, click here.


Five Agencies Report Alarming Malnutrition in North Korea

February 24, 2011

With North Korea’s facing a severe food shortage, according to Agence France-Presse(AFP), five agencies —Christian Friends of Korea, Global Resource Services, Mercy Corps, Samaritan's Purse, and World Vision— asked international food assistance for North Korea after visiting the country. For more information, click here.

 

Opinion: “Principled” Hawks Risk North Korea

February 23, 2011

In this opinion piece, “’Principled’ Hawks Risk North Korea” Selig S. Harrison argues that the U.S. government should offer long-term food aid and long-term energy aid to Pyongyang in exchange for denuclearization. He criticizes the Obama administration’s foreign policy toward North Korea and draws attention to  North Korea’s willingness to resume talks. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea Requests Food Aid from Foreign Countries

February 22, 2011 

According to the Washington Post, North Korea, trapped in the unfavorable conditions by floods and livestock disease, recently asked other countries for food. The UN World Food Programme says that it will run out of food in the next month. Potential donor countries are concerned about monitoring. For more information, click here.

 

Czech Republic is Likely to Reject North Korea’s Request for Food Aid

February 20, 2011 

According to Ceske Noviny, the Czech Republic is likely to reject North Korea’s request for food aid. Jin Schneider, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, pointed out that North Korea had officially declares that it is a prosperous country, and made huge investments in military projects and weapons. According to the article, Schneider said that there is insufficient information that the DPRK is experiencing a famine. He also doubted that the distribution of food aid in North Korea would be fair. For more information, click here.

 

 Sen. Lugar Statement on North Korean Food Aid

February 14, 2011
Senator Lugar released a statement on February 14 "In response to the Obama Administration ‘s current review of recent North Korean requests for a resumption  of U.S. food aid to North Korea.  Here is the statement in full:

“Any resumption of U.S. food aid to North Korea should be contingent on North Korea allowing access and accountability by monitors in accordance with international standards. It is essential to ensure that the U.S. assistance is actually received by hungry North Korean children and their families rather than reinforcing the North Korean military whose care is already a priority over the rest of the population.

“Also, the United States and North Korea should come to terms regarding the 22,000 metric tons of commodity that was not distributed according to the conditions of a bilateral agreement at the time North Korea expelled U.S. monitors In 2009.”

Since 1995, U.S. humanitarian assistance, fuel oil and medical supplies to North Korea has amounted to over $1 billion.

The statement was posted on Senator Lugar's website.

 

U.S. Envoy Says It’s Hard to Give Food to North Korea

February 11, 2011

Robert King, the U.S. State Department's special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, said at a meeting with North Korea-related NGO leaders in Seoul that no decision has been made on resuming food aid to North Korea. He explained that food aid would be provided only under the three following conditions: the true existence of a genuine need for food in North Korea, that there is the same level of need for food in comparison with other countries in need, and securely guaranteed aid monitoring. For more information, click here


North Korea Asks Foreign Countries for Aid

February 10, 2011

According to The Guardian, an Asian diplomat has said that North Korea has asked all 40 of its foreign embassies to request food aid.  In general the DPRK has made such appeals through the World Food Programme, but the WFP has managed to raise only 20% of the budget.  The article speculates that rising food costs in China has affected its ability to provide food to the DPRK. For more information, click here.

 

North Korea Faces Fear of Famine

January 31, 2011 

According to Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), North Korea has said that it is faced with fear of famine, experiencing the coldest winter ever since after records began in 1945. Pyongyang expresses worries about hampered spring planting, and fears of possibility on livestock disease outbreak. For more information, click here.

 

 South Korean Aids Groups Express Concern about North Korea’s Harsh Winters

January 27, 2011

South Korean charities have expressed concern about North Korea experiencing severe winter weather along with food shortages. Park Hyun-seok, secretary general of the Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea, stated that the current situation in North Korea is even worse than that in 1995, and stressed that the focus should be on changing North Korea’s attitude so that they will allow monitoring of food distribution by South Korean aid groups. For more information, click here.

 

 ROK NGO Sends Hand-made Scarves for Children in the DPRK

January 24, 2010

The ROK Women’s Organization in Kyungnam province has knit 1,900 knitting scarves for helping children in the DPRK. On January 24, it gave scarves to the ‘One nation organization’ in Kyungnam province to send to the DPRK. For more information, click here.

 

EU and SIDA Fund UK SAVE the Children in the DPRK

January 19, 2011

It was announced on January 19 that the EU and SIDA would contribute to the UK Save the Children program in the DPRK. The program helps hospitals, kindergartens and sanitation services in the DPRK. For more information, click here.

 

WFP Decreased by More Than Half in January

January 19, 2011

During winter vacation in January the WFP decreased its provision of food by more than half. In an interview with RFA, WFP spokesperson Nanna Skau said that it would send about 1,550 tons of blended food with vitamins and other nutrition. It will increase the food aid to normal levels in February. For more information, click here.

 

 A Swedish NGO, PMU Interlife Allocated 500,000 Dollars in the DPRK

January 19, 2011

A Swedish NGO, PMU Interlife, has extended its three year potato project in the DPRK. They have allocated an additional $515,000 for a final year of the project, which is not scheduled to be completed in February 2012. For more information, click here and here.     

 

UN Allocates $5M on Humanitarian Work in the DPRK

January 18, 2010

The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, announced that US$84 million had been allocated to 15 underfunded countries. The DPRK will receive $5 million, the fifth largest allocation, which has also been allocated to o Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and the Central African Republic. The funds were made from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and will be granted to UN humanitarian agencies. For more information, click here.

 

Inter-Korean Red Cross Office Reopens

January 13, 2011

The DPRK informed the ROK Unification Ministry that the inter Korean Red Cross office at Panmunjom reopened on January 12. The DPRK shut down the office after the ROK’s announcement on May 24 that the Joint Investigation Group had issued a report saying the DPRK was responsible for the sinking of Cheonan. For more information, click here

  

North Side Sends Notices to South Side

January 10, 2010

The DPRK Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and other organizations separately sent notices to the Ministry of Unification in the ROK and others on January 10, informing them of the statement by the Peaceful Reunification of Korea and the recent joint statement of the DPRK government. Also, they proposed having a working level talks between the two Korea and the Red Cross organizations. For more information, click here

 

AFC and FAO join hands to fight hunger in Asia

January 6, 2011

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has joined hands with the FAO  in the fight against hunger in Asia. Football games will help the campaign to raise funds for the FAO project and spread awareness of the problem. The recipient programs will be determined by the donors. For more information, click here and here.

 

U.S. NGO delays housing project in the DPRK until March

January 5, 2011

The U.S. NGO, the Fuller Center for Housing, is delaying its housing project in the DPRK until March.  The DPRK government hasn’t yet issued visas. In addition, U.S. regulations prevent the Fuller Center from sending funding to purchase building materials. For more information, click here.

 

EU Budgets $2 Million; French NGO plans dairy farms

January 4, 2010

The EU has announced a 1,390,000 EUR (2 million dollars) budget for 2011 to support Humanitarian Projects in the DPRK. Meanwhile, the French NGO, Triangle Generation Humanitaire, plans to establish dairy farms to help malnourished children in the DPRK. For more information, click here.

 

Switzerland’s Support for 2011

January 1, 2011

According to RFA (Radio Free Asia), the Swiss government has announced a budget of 3,500,000 Swiss Franc (3,640,000 US dollar) for 2011 to support humanitarian work in the DPRK, similar to the amount budgeted last year. The grant is primarily for milk powder. The government is preparing to allocate more funds if there is a disaster..  For more information, click here and here.

 




Karin Lee HyoJung Jang Hye Eun Kim Jeongjin Oh Daniel Wertz

Dec 21, 2011 12:00 AM
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