Monday, June 23, 2008

Widespread deaths in famine-hit North Korea

Deaths from starvation are being reported in famine-hit North Korea, South Korean groups said today.

The Peace Foundation, a private think-tank, issued a statement by its leader Beomryun calling for urgent food aid. "The number of people dying of hunger is visibly increasing in the rural areas of Hwanghae provinces, with news about deaths by starvation heard across North Korea," said Beomryun, a Buddhist monk "The feared tragedy of massive deaths by famine has finally begun."

South Korean aid group Good Friends, which operates in North Korea, listed 26 famine-hit cities or counties, including 17 in North and South Hwanghae provinces, which are the main grain production region. "An average of two to four people are dying of hunger every day in each named North Korean county or city," a Good Friends spokesman said.

The unification ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, said it could not immediately verify the claims by the groups, and intelligence authorities were cautious. "We have received no such report as the Peace Foundation or Good Friends have claimed," an intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

[The Straits Times]

No comments: