Rations for Pyongyang as Regions Suffer

Daily NK has learned that with the exception of Pyongyang,
the North Korean authorities have ceased distributing regular food rations
despite promises that distribution would “return to normal.” While last year saw provincial
urban centers receive rations from the state’s wartime reserves, this year
there has been very little distribution on offer for those beyond the walls of
the “revolutionary capital.”

A
Pyongyang-based source told Daily NK on the 23rd that residents
of the capital have continued to receive steady food rations after the initial
post-harvest influx last October. “They gave us enough for two weeks at
the beginning of this month and another two weeks on the 16th.”

“There is talk going round that the Marshal [Kim Jong Eun]
has taken great interest in food distribution and is giving direct orders on
the matter.  Even those who were initially skeptical at Party promises of
regular distribution are happy with the comparatively plentiful rations,” the
source reported.

However, the food situation remains tenuous for the rest of
the country. A second source from Hyesan revealed, “In January, housewives
were given two kilos of mixed rice and corn and households received ten days of
rations on top of that.  But there has been nothing since then, and there
is no word from the Upper (the authorities) about rations now in April, even
though food tends to be scarce for us at this time.”

A third source from North Hwanghae Province added, “Last
year the authorities released the ‘No.2 wartime rice reserves’ but there have
been no special directives this year. Even though the rice we ended up getting
was spoiled and full of bugs, a lot of people are upset that they won’t even
get that this time around.”

After receiving word from the centre last year, plenty of
cadres boasted that the distribution system would soon return to normal. For
most, however, the reality is quite different as “some wonder if there is
any rice left at all now that they’ve released the wartime
reserves.” 

In North Hamkyung, too, rumors swirl that even the regional
military bases have nothing to eat. “Discontent is there, and talk in the
markets centers around distribution and how promises from the authorities
cannot be trusted ,” the source continued.

However, “Rice supply is still not a serious issue because
farms are bringing stored reserves to market in order to purchase diesel to
prepare the fields for planting. But the barley won’t arrive until June, and if
the current situation continues there are sure to be households who will
struggle this spring.”

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