Changchun, China — A mother and her daughter have starved to death in a rural area of Yangkang Province due to drastically reduced food circulation within North Korea since the November 30th redenomination, according to a report from an inside source.
A source from Yangkang Province reported the tragedy to The Daily NK today, “In Gapsan, Ms. Shin, who made her living selling noodles, and her 11-year old daughter were found dead from starvation.”
The source said, “Due to the bill exchange, business went bad and the authorities are cracking down on private trade in food, so problems for the poor have been getting serious. The provincial Party takes the situation seriously and is addressing it.”
On the evening of the 10th, the chairman of Ms. Shin’s people’s unit apparently visited her house to tell her of a meeting and found Ms. Shin and her eldest daughter dead, so she reported it to the office of the People’s Security Agency. Her second daughter, an eight-year old, is reportedly still alive.
The story spread at a meeting of that people’s unit which was held on the 11th. People’s unit chairpersons and members of the provincial Committee of the Party then visited the Chief Secretary of Gapsan to ask him to adopt measures to combat starvation.
Upon hearing of the incident, Chief Secretary of Yangkang Province Kim Hee Taek also visited Ms. Shin’s house, gathered a report and enacted emergency measures for the poorest class in Gapsan, fearing residents’ instability.
As a result, according to the source, on the 12th and 13th there were free meal services in state-run restaurants and cooperative restaurants. He also confirmed that from the afternoon of the 13th, ten-days of corn were distributed to the residents of Gapsan-eup.
The Daily NK’s source was unimpressed, however, pointing out that “although food has been released, fundamental problems have still not been solved. The authorities should give us food or allow us to trade food in the jangmadang.”
When the currency redenomination was reported on November 30th, The Daily NK predicted that harm to members of the poorest class would not be that serious, because the poor tend not to hold too much cash. However, the circumstances for the poor are now growing much more serious, because new money did not circulate well in the beginning and the market continues to wither as the authorities have decided to strongly regulate food trading.