Food insecurity is increasing in North Korea, where some are “hungry” since the closure of the border with China and the other measures taken against the spread of coronavirus, has informed on Tuesday a UN expert.
Pyongyang, which has confirmed no cases of COVID-19, closed its border with China on 21 January and put in place a series of measures against the epidemic.
Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, has called on the international community to take urgent action.
“The lack of food had had a devastating impact on the DPRK (democratic people’s Republic of Korea) in the year 1990, and the prospect of a worsening food shortages and food insecurity already prevalent is worrying,” said the independent expert, which is not expressed in the name of the Un, but communicates the results of its investigations.
According to him, ” more and more families eat only twice a day, or eat only corn, and some are hungry “.
“In this context where the pandemic inflicts economic hardship drama to the DPRK, I encourage the security Council of the united nations to reconsider the sanctions,” international against North Korea, “in view of the impact on the lives of the population,” he said.
The experts believe that the famine of the second half of the 1990s killed hundreds of thousands of people in the country.
More than 40% of the population was considered food insecure before the crisis of the coronavirus, with many cases of malnutrition.
A child under the age of five years on five suffers from stunted growth, explained on Tuesday during a press conference online a spokesperson for the world food Program, Elizabeth Byrs. “Malnutrition at this scale means that irreversible damages are inflicted on hundreds of thousands of children “.
According to Mr Quintana, the strict measures taken against the coronavirus – the containment and closure of borders – make the situation worse.
In march and April, the trade from north korea with China have fallen by over 90% and many of the border found themselves without income, he pointed out, referring to ” an increase in homelessness in major cities, including kotjebi (street children), and a surge in prices of medicines “.
According to the expert, the soldiers are also suffering from food shortages. He said he was concerned about the situation in prisons, in particular the camps, secret detention, and has called on Pyongyang to free the prisoners vulnerable.