Kim JongII needs to set his priorities straight. His people are not only starving, they're DYING and KILLING because of starvation. His WMD wont defend anybody if this keeps going on...I thought N Koreans eating hay was ridiculous and outlandish. Read on.
Famine-struck N Koreans ‘eating children’
By Mark Nicol
Cannibalism is increasing in North Korea following another poor harvest and a big cut in international food aid, according to refugees who have fled the stricken country.
Aid agencies are alarmed by refugees’ reports that children have been killed and corpses cut up by people desperate for food. Requests by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to be allowed access to “farmers’ markets”, where human meat is said to be traded, have been turned down by Pyongyang, citing “security reasons”.
Anyone caught selling human meat faces execution, but in a report compiled by the North Korean Refugees Assistance Fund (NKRAF), one refugee said: “Pieces of ‘special’ meat are displayed on straw mats for sale. People know where they came from, but they don’t talk about it.”
The NKRAF, an aid body set up in China five years ago which helps to smuggle food and medicines into parts of North Korea off-limits to WFP officials, interviewed 200 refugees for the report.
“If a funeral takes place during the day and the burial is performed that evening, the grave may be dug open and the body stolen before morning,” said one refugee.
Another witness, named only as Lee, 54, said he feared that his missing grandsons, aged eight and 11, had been killed for food. As he searched widely for them, they boys’ friends said they had vanished near a market.
Mr Lee said police who raided a nearby restaurant found body parts. The business’s owners were shot.
Gerald Bourke, the WFP’s representative in Beijing, said it was difficult for his organisation to substantiate the reports of cannibalism as they were unable to get to the markets. “As in any desperately poor country, it is something we might stumble on,” he said. “It’s not just a problem for us, but also our donors.” Because of the food shortages, many people were having to survive on nine ounces of rations a day - less than half the recommended minimum daily intake.
North Korea’s ability to feed itself has been hit by floods, deforestation and lack of farm fertilisers and equipment.
The WFP says Japan provided 500,000 tons of food aid in 2001, making it the biggest donor, but sent nothing last year. Food aid from America has been cut from 340,000 tons in 2001 to 40,000 tons so far this year. Washington has pledged to send a further 60,000 tons if Pyongyang lifts restrictions on the operations of agencies such as the WFP.