Another arduous march

image via Rodong Sinmun

image via Rodong Sinmun

North Korea is dealing with a growing food crisis as they reject foreign aid and expand their nuclear weapons testing. The hermit country conducted six nuclear weapons tests in the last week and continues to turn a blind eye to the suffering North Korean citizens. 


The Rodong Sinmun has warned the North Korean people to turn to self reliance in finding food and not accept foreign aid. This announcement has led to speculation of an approaching famine striking the country. 


The last famine that struck North Korea was the Arduous March also known as the “March of Suffering” that occurred from 1994-98 and had an estimated death toll between 240000 and 3.5 million. The effects of the famine have left a lasting impact in North Korea with malnutrition and stunted growth all over the country. The end of the famine happened only with the support of foreign aid. The World Food Program was a big contributor to the end of the famine and they have yet to release a statement on the ongoing situation. 


North Korea has been dealing with typhoons, flooding, and global sanctions which may cause the country to stumble into another famine. In an article published by the Rodong Sinmun they warned, “It is a mistake to try to boost the economy by accepting and eating this poisoned candy.” 


The U.S. based think tank 38 North has been heavily discussing this issue and stated that, “Food availability has likely fallen below the bare minimum with regards to human needs, [North Korea is] dealing with a complex humanitarian emergency with food insecurity at its core.” They also added that this crisis is likely to be the “worst since the 1990s famine.” 


Pyongyang has identified the potential crisis and called an emergency meeting with the ruling Workers Party on agriculture. According to the South Korean Unification Ministry it is rare for these meetings to be called. 


Since North Korea is such an isolated country, the inner workings of the country are constantly being debated and speculated. It is still unknown how this crisis will play out and how many lives will be affected.