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North Korea hunger

Updated: Tue, 23 Apr 2013

Introduction

North Korea is one of the most closed states in the world. It spends massive sums on its military and nuclear programme, yet it cannot feed its own people.

In the 1990s it suffered one of the most destructive famines of the 20th century which killed at least 1 million people, and today much of its population experiences chronic hunger. The regime blames natural disasters for its food shortages but observers say catastrophic economic mismanagement is also responsible.

The Stalinist country depends on international aid to feed millions of people. But in recent years many donors have been reluctant to fund aid because of the regime's restrictions on humanitarian workers and international fears over its nuclear ambitions.

The World Food Programme is the main distributor of multilateral food aid in North Korea.

Chronic food insecurity affects two-thirds of the country's 24 million people, the Assessment Capacities Project said in April 2013.

Food shortages and human rights abuses have prompted tens of thousands to risk their lives trying to escape across the border into China.

The country's leader Kim Jong-il died in December 2011 and was succeeded by his youngest son Kim Jong-un, extending the Kim dynasty's rule for a third generation.

North Korea is one of the most closed states in the world. It spends massive sums on its military and nuclear programme, yet it cannot feed its own people.

In the 1990s it suffered one of the most destructive famines of the 20th century which killed at least 1 million people, and today much of its population experiences chronic hunger. The regime blames natural disasters for its food shortages but observers say catastrophic economic mismanagement is also responsible.

The Stalinist country depends on international aid to feed millions of people. But in recent years many donors have been reluctant to fund aid because of the regime's restrictions on humanitarian workers and international fears over its nuclear ambitions.

The World Food Programme is the main distributor of multilateral food aid in North Korea.

Chronic food insecurity affects two-thirds of the country's 24 million people, the Assessment Capacities Project said in April 2013.

Food shortages and human rights abuses have prompted tens of thousands to risk their lives trying to escape across the border into China.

The country's leader Kim Jong-il died in December 2011 and was succeeded by his youngest son Kim Jong-un, extending the Kim dynasty's rule for a third generation.