GoodFriends: Research Institute For North Korean Society

.

North Korea Today No.181

Research Institute for North Korean Society
http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/eng

No. 181 August 2008
Arrival of Whole Wheat and Corn at Heungnam Port
Wheat Distribution in Baechun Areas, South Hwanghae Province
Market Price of Wheat Dropping Due To Influx of Wheat into Chungjin
400-500 MT of Wheat Distributed to Each County in North Hamgyong Province
Corn, Instead of Wheat, To Be Distributed in Some Areas of North Hamgyong Province
Mixed Feelings among People Who Received Wheat
United Nations Monitoring Personnel Visit Onsung Area
People are Surprised to See That the Real Situation Is Shown to the United Nations Distribution Personnel



Arrival of Whole Wheat and Corn at Heungnam Port
On July 18, whole wheat and corn arrived at Heungnam Port in Heungnam City, located within South Hamgyong Province. A munitions factory under the 2nd Economy will receive a portion of the wheat and corn. Up until now, the factory workers had to go home to eat lunch, now lunch is provided for them in the factory cafeteria. When the workers receive food, their portion is equal to the original quantity minus whatever they have been given at lunch.



Wheat Distribution in Baechun Areas, South Hwanghae Province
On July 18, wheat provided by foreign countries was transported to Baechun County and some other areas in South Hwanghae Province. Twenty-four train storage carriages were used as the means of transportation. It has been reported that the wheat will first be distributed to the farmers, not to the workers, in South Hwanghae Province. In this area, deaths have been reported since March in households that were reduced to complete starvation. The County Party and the Farm Management Committee leaders have distributed several days worth of unripened corn to the farmers. The corn is intended to provide sustenance to those hungry farmers who had become too weak to work. The distribution partially helped to relieve starvation, but residents still go hungry quite often. Moreover, because residents have eaten some of this year’s new crops, they will need to plan for a lower than expected harvest in the fall. Thankfully, ten days’ worth of wheat was distributed to each household in Baechun Country. The new wheat comes from food aid given by the United States.

Market Price of Wheat Dropping Due To Influx of Wheat into Chungjin
As of July 15, the food prices in the markets of Chungjin have begun to drop, due to the recent delivery of 15,000 MT of wheat to Chungjin Port. After seeing the food price decrease, residents have begun to look forward to a lessening of the food shortage problem. They said they wish the price would go down a little more. The 15,000 MT are being distributed to the participants of the Mt. Baekdu construction and coalmines first.



400-500 MT of Wheat Distributed to Each County in North Hamgyong Province
In North Hamgyong Province, each county is slated to receive 400-500 MT of wheat from the shipment that arrived in Chungjin. 400 MT of wheat has been sent to Local Food Administration Unit (량정사업소) of Onsung County, North Hamgyong Province. In the case of city construction office of Onsung County, 23 kg of wheat was distributed to each employee. Eight freight trucks loaded with wheat also went into the to Local Food Administration Unit in Hoeryong City. In Yeonsa County, residents need to receive at least 500 MT; they have specific plans for how much will be distributed to which department.

Corn, Instead of Wheat, To Be Distributed in Some Areas of North Hamgyong Province
According to an official in Chungjin, in some areas the recently delivered whole wheat will be stored in Storage Number 2 (2호창고) and whole corn will be distributed instead. The decision to switch corn for wheat comes from the accumulation of mold and deteriorating quality of the corn. It is reported that those regions which still have healthy corn will not have any problems.

Mixed Feelings among People Who Received Wheat
The signs of happiness are apparent in the faces of those who received wheat, potatoes, or whole corn. Nevertheless, there are people who are not entirely happy. Kang Jung-in (age 38) who lives in Baechun, South Hwanghae Province, complained about what he has to pay on top of the tax. He said, “It is true that we are happy with the ration. Our family almost starved to death. But we have big worries as well. We had to pay for many things during the first half of the year when there was no ration. Now they finally gave us a little bit of food. But I feel terrible when I think about all those things for which they asked us to pay. I do not really expect them to help us, but I wish that they would at least not force us to pay for all those things if they understand the difficulties people are going through and how much people starve.”

United Nations Monitoring Personnel Visit Onsung Area
At the end of July, two World Food Program (WFP) personnel (one man and one woman) visited Onsung County, North Hamgyong Province in order to inspect the food distribution situation. Guided by county officials, they visited a hospital and three homes, checking the food supplies and the living conditions. They also visited an orphanage in Poongsuh-ri, which is run by a woman who received the title of motherly heroin. This place has been taking care of up to 170 orphans. Currently, there are 150 children living here. This facility has regularly received support from government. Recently, a Chinese trading company doing business in Onsung also lent their support. The distribution monitoring personnel visited this facility and checked the details of the living conditions, health status, and daily activities of the orphans.

People are Surprised to See That the Real Situation Is Shown to the United Nations Distribution Personnel
Unlike other times, the county party officials of Onsung County guiding the United Nations monitoring personnel are allowing them to see the destitute situations. One of the homes they visited in Ontan-gu(온탄구) was very shabby and wretched, with clear signs of water leaking in from the rain. They also provided a relatively accurate account of the food shortage situation of the residents. People seem to be surprised that they took the United Nations personnel to destitute homes. Han Ki-joon (age 37) who lives in Onsung-town expressed his astonishment, he said, “In the past they only showed good places and reported only positive things to outsiders. This time, they showed problem areas as well as destitute areas they did not previously want to expose. To be honest, it is still hard to believe.” Song Hak-chul (age 38) expressed hope and said, “Now they are showing the real situation without caring about unnecessary self-pride, I feel that they should have done that a long time ago. However, it is fortunate that they have done it. The United Nations will provide more aid after they see things as they really are. More aid materials will come to ordinary people like us.”
Good Friends: Center for Peace, Human Rights and Refugees
If you need further information, please contact

Good Friends (Korea)
E-mail:intnetwork@jungto.org
Tel:82-2-587-8996
Fax:82-2-587-8998

Good Friends USA (Washington, DC)
E-mail:goodfriendsusa@yahoo.co.kr,
Tel: 1-202-824-0788/1-301-455-9196(D)

No comments:

Share It