The North Korean Famine Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 February 2017

The North Korean Famine

A famine is an extreme shortage of food caused by insufficient resource to support the population of a certain place or nation which causes a large rate of death due to hunger and starvation. Overlapping factors such as over population, economic downfall, natural disasters and others that involve food production contributes to its capacity to supply food, which if not taken care of immediately could result into a crisis. However, according to Amatya Sen, Famine does not always concern insufficient food stocks; it is about the politics of food distribution.

Famines today are also related to wars, political reigns, climate changes and policies that has effect in our daily lives (Woo-Cumings, 2002). During the 1990s, North Korea has experienced a famine leaving a range of 600, 000 to 1 million deaths. Because of that tragedy, international assistance and humanitarian food program has been the main concern of the United Nations (UN) which had somehow relieved the situation of the country for the mean time.

But, according to the World Food Programme (WFP) and other observers, North Korea is once again trailing towards another famine (Noland, 2003). As a military based country, North Korea places its military needs first before anything else. This attitude somehow put the country at risk. 5 years ago, October 2002, North Korea was revealed to have been testing nuclear weapons, this action have put the continued humanitarian assistance for food in doubt (Woo-Cumings, 2002).

Sudden reforms done in the country such as marketization of the economy, increase in overall price level, promotion of economic zones, and a diplomatic opening to Japan could be expected to have affected the availability of food on the country. North Korea also initiated a number of conflicting policies in the agricultural sector thinking that these would help uplift the faced calamity. These policies was focused on input rather than the output such as the use of fertilizers, insecticides, tractors and other chemical and mechanical products which damaged the soil which rendered it unable to grow crops (Noland, 2003).

North Korea is now on its eighth year of economic decline. The country has been facing a shortage of food supply since the early 1990s and is experiencing famine. A reform could be a big help to benefit its people and save lives, yet, the reform would be a complicated matter since its neighboring countries, mainly South Korea, have problematic relations with them (Noland, Robinson, & Wang, 2002).

Natural calamities in 1995 and 1996 alarmed the North Korea into full-fledged famine. Droughts afterwards descended on the land which had greatly put the country in vain for food resource (Woo-Cumings, 2002). These disasters had further worsened and complicated the situation. Because of the military based system of North Korea, despite of the losing ground economy, the country maintains its support with power and authority.

This situation had rendered foreign aids to accommodate the people since the country limits them on the field of the problem (Flake & Snyder, 2004). In answer to these unfortunate events, humanitarian movements might be the answer for a calamity like this. To prevent such monstrous crisis, it is our responsibility to help out our fellow men and do our part in preserving humanity, not as act of mercy but an act of grace. A Good Samaritan is always rewarded for his actions and that would be the same for us.

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  • Date: 19 February 2017

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