International

North Koreans Starving To Death After 3 Years Of Covid-19 Induced Harsh Measures: Report

North Korea is one of the most repressive countries in the world and is shrouded in secrecy under its rule by authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
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North Korea is facing its worst food crisis since the 1990s famine, as Covid-induced isolation measures continue in the authoritarian regime. 

The BBC report quoting civilians living in the country said that they have watched their neighbours starve to death due to a lack of food supplies after Kim Jong Un sealed the borders in 2020.

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, North Korea sealed off its borders, including halting grain imports from China, along with fertilizer and machinery vital for growing food. 

The report said: “The country has constantly fallen short in producing enough food to feed its 26 million citizens while dictator Kim Jong Un has been spending millions of pounds on developing his nuclear weapons program.”

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"The North Korean borders need to open and they need to restart trade and they need to bring these things in for agriculture to improve and they need food to feed the people. But right now they are prioritising isolation, they are prioritising repression", Lina Yoon, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch told CNN.

A woman living in the capital Pyongyang told BBC about a family of three who had starved to death at home. "We knocked on their door to give them water, but nobody answered. When the authorities went inside, they found them dead,'' she said.

Another construction worker, who lives near the Chinese border said that food supplies were so low that five people in his village had already died from starvation. "At first, I was afraid of dying from Covid, but then I began to worry about starving to death," the worker told BBC.

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The fortified borders have also reportedly made it impossible for people to smuggle in food to sell at the unofficial markets. More so, guards have been ordered to shoot anyone trying to cross.

"That normal, middle-class people are seeing starvation in their neighbourhoods, is very concerning. We are not talking about full-scale societal collapse and mass starvation yet, but this does not look good'', said the North Korean economist Peter Ward.

In the late 1990s, North Korea experienced a devastating famine that killed as many as three million people. 

North Korea is one of the most repressive countries in the world and is shrouded in secrecy under its rule by authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un.
 

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