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 North Korea, Normally Coping With Chronic Hunger, Faces Massive Food Shortage

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, new fears of a food crisis in North Korea. A United Nations report today said more than six million people there urgently need food aid.

Before that information was released, Margaret Warner spoke with a humanitarian aid worker who had just returned from the reclusive communist nation.

MARGARET WARNER: North Korea most recently hit the headlines with its provocative attacks last year on targets in South Korea. And it continues to defy the world in pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

But early this year, Pyongyang quietly began asking for help to address a severe food shortage. The country lost a million people to famine in the 1990s, and neither the U.S. nor South Korea has sent food donations in two years.

This time, Pyongyang reached out to five private Western humanitarian groups. All five sent representatives last month to assess conditions in three central North Korean provinces: North and South Pyongan and Chagang.

For more on what they found, we are joined by David Austin, Mercy Corps' director of programs for North Korea. He led the delegation.

And welcome, Mr. Austin. Thanks for being with us.

DAVID AUSTIN, Mercy Corps: Thanks for having me, Margaret.

MARGARET WARNER: Now, tell us, first of all, what did the North Koreans say when they -- in explaining why they wanted you to come?

DAVID AUSTIN: Well, they asked us to come because there is a food shortage, and it's affecting really the most vulnerable population in their country.

And they cite a number of reasons for this. There was a lot of floods this past summer. And there was also a late -- a late cold in the springtime last year, the flooding in the summer. And then also, this winter, they have had more than 60 days of below freezing, really bitter-freezing winter cold.


 2011/3/26 14:53Profile

 Re: North Korea, Normally Coping With Chronic Hunger, Faces Massive Food Shortage

LORD we pray for the innocents there and around the world - that You would show Your Grace - First by a revelation of Yourself, unto the salvation of souls but with the food & help needed to keep them alive until they can come safely Home to You, Precious Jesus. We love You and stand in the gap for all the innocents around this wicked evil world - In Your Powerful Name/Authority.

 2011/3/26 15:03

 Re: Hunger in N Korea

Lord Jesus may you provide physical bread to the starving of N Korea. More importantly provide living bread to the hungry souls of that nation. Do strenghthen your persecuted body in that country. In your blessed name. Amen.

 2011/3/27 5:18

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