North Korea is undergoing the worst period of food insecurity it has faced since a mass famine devastated the country almost 30 years ago, a report by U.S.-based monitoring website 38 North said.
The report, published Thursday, analyzes data from sources including the U.N.’s World Food Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and independent news outlet Daily NK.
Citing economic mismanagement, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising global food prices, the report concludes that North Korea’s “net grain balance has fallen below minimum human needs.”
“Food availability has likely fallen below the bare minimum with regard to human needs, and on one metric, is at its worst since the country’s famine in the 1990s,” the report said. 38 North is published by Washington-based think tank The Stimson Center.
Estimates vary widely, but the famine of roughly 1994-98 — referred to euphemistically as the “Arduous March” by North Korean leaders — may have killed 1 million people, or 5% of the population at the time.