LFNKR Initiating Starvation Relief Campaign

Critical Shortage of Foods and Medicines in North Korea  

The disastrous floods of July and August have caused enormous damage in Pakistan, China and North Korea. Serious damage was caused to North Korean granary areas, including Huang Hai Namdo, Pukto, Hamgyong Pukto and Namdo in the Northern area.

The Tumen River, which runs between China and North Korea, is normally 30 to 40 meters wide, but it has broadened to 100 meters after the extended heavy rains.  In recent days, dead bodies are seen floating downstream in the muddy water.  They are probably a result of the many North Koreans desperately attempting to cross the river into China for food but drowning before reaching the other side.

The currency reform (denomination) attempted by the North Korean government in November last year failed, sharply crippling the market economy that had been experiencing steady growth.  Prices have doubled and tripled with the shortage of products at markets. Now very few people can afford to buy there.  A Chinese businessman, who often goes to Rajin-Sonbong FETZ (Free Economic and Trade Zone), was interviewed by an LFNKR local staff member. The businessman said that he had frequently visited North Korea, and that the markets had been thriving until last November. Now, he says, they are almost deserted.

In the past, doctors in North Korea wrote prescriptions, and the patients went to the markets to buy the prescribed medicines, but no longer.  Reportedly, hospitals have run out of medicines and doctors have had to cease writing prescriptions.  The best they can do now is tell patients the names of their diseases.

The Ministry of Public Health is scrambling to procure medicines through trading departments.  However, pharmaceutical companies in other countries, including China, hesitate to ship their products to them because of their repeated failures to pay.  This adds to the worsening conditions in North Korea.  Several Chinese people engaged in trade with North Korea commented that if the situation continues to worsen, the sick will die from the lack of medicines and the non-sick will die of starvation.

Obviously, people in North Korea are again in dire need of food aid.  Meanwhile, due to the recent flooding damage, the Chinese government has established a new rice exporting system, which requires permission for each shipment.  This virtually prohibits the export of rice.  North Korea is unlikely to receive food aid from other countries. Japan won’t help because of the long unresolved abduction issue. South Korea is unwilling due to the recent attack on its patrol ship, which was blown up by North Korea. And the US sees North Korea as highly uncooperative regarding a return to the six-party talks.

The little food that does reach North Korea through normal channels is quickly diverted to feed the military and elite government ranks. However, our organization, via independently developed clandestine local networks, regularly delivers foods and medications directly to the people most in need. These are the ordinary North Korean citizens who have been left by their own government to teeter on the verge of starvation.

Currently, the Chinese government has not added processed foods to their list of export-prohibited goods.  Thus, LFNKR has decided to raise funds specifically intended for the supply of 10,000 packs of instant noodles.

Please help our 10,000 instant noodle supply campaign by donating through PayPal:

 Report submitted by local LFNKR staff member