North Korea Famine

Hany Badaiwi

Why is this happening?

Starvation is a common thing in North Korea unfortunately. Out of a population of 22 million, an estimation between 240,000 and 3.5 million deaths show the true nightmare behind the situation. The famine resulted from numerous things such as yearly drought, economic mismanagement and the loss of Soviet support. In 1980, the Soviet Union demanded payment from North Korea for past and current aid, amounts that they couldn't repay. Once the Soviet Union ended, the economy of North Korea collapsed resulting in the loss of agricultural imports, bringing the amount of food available down. The North Korean government proved too inflexible to respond. North Korea looked for aid fast, someone to fill in the gap left by the Soviets, they quickly found China. Shortly after China supplied North Korea with almost all their food, 77% of fuel imports and 68% of its food imports to be exact. The aid to North Korea was ended immediately after China started facing issues of their own.

Public Distribution System

The average person in North Korea eats 497 calories a day compared to America's 2,594 calories. The government would control exactly how much a person would eat, and even then, rations weren't always guaranteed. A 2-4 year old will usually eat 200 grams a day, retired citizen would get 300 grams, ordinary worker at 700 grams and lastly, an industrial worker was lucky enough to get 900 grams. The amount of food the government distributes has dramatically decreased throughout the years, and almost the entire population of North Korea which relies on the government for food sometimes doesn't get food. When this happens, the government would actually suggest eating grass, leaves and tree bark.

North Korean are 40x poorer than their southern neighbors

North Koreas GDP ranks as one of the lowest in the world, ranking at 180 of 193 countries. According to the UN, around half of the country (12 million people) are living in extreme poverty.