North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged his citizens to prepare for a “severe crisis”, after human rights organizations warned that the country would face a great food shortage and economic instability.
The North Korean leader was speaking at a conference of the ruling party and compared the situation to the state of famine that swept the country in the 1990s.
North Korea has closed its borders due to the Corona pandemic, and has stopped trade with China, which it mainly depends on.
In addition to the international economic sanctions imposed on the country because of its nuclear program.
Jong Un, in an unexpected admission of the difficulties, called on Party officials to stand firm in the face of the difficulties facing the people.
The leader referred to the country’s struggle in the face of a similar crisis that swept it in the 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union deprived North Korea of aid essential to its economy.
It is estimated that about 3 million people died during that crisis.
The North Korean leader warned that the country is facing an unprecedented difficult situation and challenges.
How difficult is the situation?
There have been warnings in recent months that the people of North Korea are facing great difficulties, especially in the towns near the border with China, where smuggling has been a great source of livelihood for many.
The prices of corn, a staple of the diet for many, have reached incredible levels, and the price of one kilo of it has reached the value of the monthly income of some.
Lina Yun, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, says that a recent report was attributed to sources in the country saying that “hardly any foodstuffs arrive in the country from China, and that has been for two months. There are too many beggars, and some have died of starvation.” In the border areas, there is no soap, toothpaste or batteries. “
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in North Korea, Thomas Ojia, has warned that the acute food crisis has already led to malnutrition and hunger.
He added, “There are reports of people dying of starvation, as well as increasing numbers of children and the elderly resorting to begging due to the inability of families to take care of them.”
Why is North Korea in crisis?
North Koreas heavily government-held economy is one of the least efficient in the world.
Military expenditures account for the bulk of the economic revenues, as well as contribute to the crisis, the international economic sanctions imposed on the country to pressure the government to abandon its nuclear program, in addition to the procedures for closing the borders to prevent the spread of the Corona virus.
Trade exchange with China has reached almost zero point since the beginning of 2020, cutting off a basic line of official and unofficial resources.
North Korea claims that closing the borders has prevented the entry of the Corona virus, but analysts doubt this.