NORTH KOREA: People are eating grass to survive the famine


Population: 24.6 million

Fertility Rate:  2.01 children born/woman

Life Expectancy:  69.2 years (2010) vs. 72.7 years (1993)

Infant mortality:  26.21 deaths / 1000 live births

Male/Female Ratio:  0.94 male/female

Major Religions:  Autonomous religious activities have been severely restricted since 1945.   As a communist nation, the country is officially non-religious

– North Korea is the world’s most corrupt country.

– It is the world’s most militarized state compared to its population with a standing army of more than 1.1 million. Service is mandatory and can be as long as 10 years.

– More than 6 million people urgently need food aid.  33 percent of the population is undernourished.  One in five children had diarrhea, and one in eight showed symptoms of acute respiratory infection.

– The average daily ration per person is about 600 calories or about one-fourth of what the body needs to function and maintain itself. 

– The average monthly salary of 3,000 won is sufficient to buy a little more than a kilogram of rice.  Starving North Koreans are forced to supplement their diets with grass, twigs and bark. 

– Prison system holds about 200,000 people where they perform slave labor and risk summary beatings, abuse, torture, rape, forced abortions and even executions.  More than 400,000 have died since 1972 in these political prison camps.

– Government censors all forms of the press, publication, communication and other forms of mass media.  Internet is also banned.

– In the early 1970s, abortions were legalized and education about contraceptive procedures became obligatory in all kinds of health centers.  Despite increasing difficulties with all kinds of goods, the contraceptive devices were widely manufactured and freely distributed.

– The chief international supporter of North Korea’s population control program is the United Nations Population Fund, which since 1985 has provided tens of millions of dollars in demographic and technical support. 

– Family holidays must be approved by the authorities, and normally families have to wait for their vacation quota.



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