Daily NK learned Tuesday that North Korean authorities issued a second round of food provisions to food-short households in border regions of Yanggang and North Hamgyong provinces.

According to a Daily NK source in Yanggang Province, households suffering from food shortages have been receiving food provisions since Sunday in several regions along the Sino-North Korean border, including Samsu, Kimhyongjik, and Kimjongsuk counties in Yanggang Province, and Hoeryong and Onsong County in North Hamgyong Province.

Prior to this, the provincial party committees and people’s committees conducted a fact-finding effort in mid-to-late July to ascertain the living conditions of struggling households in those regions.

Through this investigation, the committees got a picture of the economic standards and living conditions of each family, including whether they had enough to eat, the condition of their land, whether they had firewood, and if their children were going to school.

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A view of Hyesan, in North Korea’s Yanggang Province. / Image: Daily NK

“After talks with local inminban [people’s unit] heads, the party and people’s committees in Yanggang Province decided to provide about 20 kilograms of corn to each family suffering from food shortages,” said the source. “However, realizing that family size differed per household, they decided to provide up to 25 kilograms to larger families.

“The corn was old, dirty, and moldy, but to poor residents, the food was life itself,” he continued, adding, “This provision isn’t part of state-supplied rations. It is being provided only to poor families at prices 20% cheaper than in the markets.”

In fact, in releasing the food supplies, North Korean authorities reportedly made clear who would receive provisions this time around, stating that they “could not supply food at cheap prices to wealthy people.” 

Meanwhile, due to emergency quarantine efforts in the face of COVID-19, only the inminban heads and some of the households suffering from food shortages were allowed to obtain the provisions at state-run food shops. The provisions were then loaded onto carts to distribute to people in need.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.
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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.