Reports say 2 thousand N.Koreans have starved to death since currency reform

Posted on : 2010-03-06 12:00 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Monk Beopryun says North Korean people are starting to think there may be problems with the government in the wake of its failed attempt to respond to the crisis

It is a widely believed fact that increasing numbers of North Koreans have starved to death in the wake of the currency reform that took place Nov. 30.

Monk Beopryun, chairperson of Good Friends, a leading North Korean human rights movement non-governmental organization, said during a lecture held in Korus House, culture center of the South Korean Embassy in Washington D.C. on Mar. 4, “After the currency reform, a number of people have starved to death since mid-January.” It is known that the price of foods have risen 45 times compared to that before the currency reform.

Monk Beopryun said, “The aim of currency reform was to restore the system of a planned economy, however, most supplies to the country have been stopped, because the distribution system of the planned economy has not worked well, while circulation at the marketplace has been banned.” He added, “If no specific countermeasures are taken in response to this situation, starvation will become an even more serious threat by March or April.” He emphasized the need to send humanitarian food aid to North Korea.

Monk Beopryun has gathered and analyzed inside information on North Korea’s human rights and basic needs including food situations since 1997 through Good Friends.

According to him, as of now, food rations have been reduced or stopped even in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. North Korea’s ruling Korea Workers’ Party (KWP), has investigated the situation of their citizens. The results of investigation included 5660 cases of near starvation and approximately 2 thousand cases of starving to death. Thus, the KWP issued an order to allow the market to circulate temporarily on Jan. 31 and ordered to police not to crack down on food trade.

Monk Beopryun said, “Unrest as a result of their belief in their system has become more serious due to the hardships in their life.” He added, “Many residents in North Korea have thought that there are big problems in North Korean politics because the government has failed to help residents and it has finally resulted in starvation.”

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