'Choongoong," which means "spring food shortage," is well under way in North Korea, as farmers run out of food from the previous year's harvest. For many people dependent on state food rations, it's the season when food starts to disappear. It's the time of the year North Koreans dread.
That dread may be especially well founded, given a series of recent policy changes by the government of Kim Jong Il [and how they have curtailed the activities of the World Food Program].
The agency, which for the past decade has been assisting millions of vulnerable people, such as young children, pregnant women and the elderly, is now negotiating to provide sustenance to less than a third of its former beneficiaries.
Other aid providers, such as China and South Korea, do not make up the gap and do not monitor distribution to make sure their aid actually goes to hungry civilians, rather than the elite.
[Exceprt of an article by Kay Seok, International Herald Tribune] related
Kay Seok is the consultant on North Korea at Human Rights Watch.