Daily US Times: The warnings are stark and coming from outside and inside of North Korea. There have been reports that North Korean families are going hungry. There is a concern of starvation as winter approaches that the most vulnerable will starve.
Lee Sang Yong, editor in chief of the Daily NK, which has sources in North Korea, said: “Problems such as more orphan children on the streets and death by starvation are continuously being reported.”
As food shortages are worse than expected, Mr Lee said: “The lower classes in North Korea are suffering more and more.”
Getting information out of North Korea is extremely difficult. Since January last year, the border has been closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from China. Even getting messages out of the North to friends and family who have defected to South Korea comes at a huge risk.
Anyone in the country caught with an unauthorised mobile phone could be thrown into a labour camp. And yet some still try to send voice mail and letters to their loved ones and to publications in Seoul.
North Korea has always struggled with food shortages, but the coronavirus pandemic has made a bad situation worse.
The country’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un has compared the current situation to the nation’s worst disaster in the 1990’s, known as the “Arduous March”, where hundreds of thousands of people died in a famine.
The situation is not thought to be that bad – yet and there are some hopeful signs. The North appears to be preparing to re-open the border with China, but it is not clear how much trade and aid will be needed to repair the economic damage already wrought on the impoverished country.
You may read: HPV vaccine cutting cervical cancer by nearly 90%