North Korea's famine at worst in more than 30 years - report

The isolated nation finds itself grappling with a severe need for humanitarian aid as the need to feed citizens only increases.

 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a convocation of the Expansion of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea in this photo released by the country's Korean Central News Agency on June 22, 2022. (photo credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a convocation of the Expansion of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea in this photo released by the country's Korean Central News Agency on June 22, 2022.
(photo credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS)

North Korea has found itself dealing with its worst famine since 1990, as the troubled nation grapples with one of its worst humanitarian issues in history. Scarcity of food and availability of product has decreased significantly since the nation isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nation has failed to meet the bare minimum for providing food, the World Food Program reported. The report stated that Dictator Kim Jong-Un's regime is more focused on the North Korean nuclear program instead of feeding its citizens - with diplomatic relations keeping other nations from stepping in and providing necessary aid.

North Korea has grappled with chronic food insecurity for years, and would require an overhaul of human rights - from property rights to a thriving service sector, 38 North reported. The publication is a sector of the Washington DC-based Stimson Center.

Mismanaged resources

North Korea has found itself dealing with mass hunger issues for years. In the 1990s, they were faced with an absolutely debilitating famine that is believed to have wiped out 600,000 to a million people. This was estimated as somewhere between three and five percent of the overall population prior to the famine.

The national food insecurity issue did not happen overnight. Through the years, North Korea’s economic mismanagement from the top down, with the intention of pushing global messaging that North Korea can stand on its own financially and politically.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un oversees a missile launch at an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this undated photo released on October 10, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS/FILE PHOTO)North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un oversees a missile launch at an undisclosed location in North Korea, in this undated photo released on October 10, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS/FILE PHOTO)

The nation primarily consumes grains produced within the country, but they are largely dependent on imported goods. The nation’s image on the global scale has made accessing these products increasingly more difficult.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the nation went into intense self-isolation including restricted movement within the country. This only made accessing food increasingly more difficult. After armed troops closed borders and stopped trade in January 2020, the economy was only further disrupted, the World Food Program reported.

According to 38 North, the nation is not only lacking in food resources, but “the regime apparently failed to secure enough paper and ink from China to print its own money; since the fall of 2021, it has been forced to issue nearly worthless scrip, or money coupons, introducing confusion and distorting currency markets.”

Additionally, the war in Ukraine has managed to add additional stress to survival in North Korea. Prices across the globe for food, energy, and soil have only exacerbated the issue in North Korea.

North Korea’s obsession with portraying a certain image has kept from accurate reporting to occur. However, grain balance reports gathered by the United Nations (UN) have shown that the nation still, somehow, has only managed to have two famines in 25 years - yet yield crazy amounts of garbage, still.