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North Korea: Food

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what his most recent estimate is of the number of people in North Korea affected by food shortages and malnutrition; and if he will make a statement; (310424)

(2) what his most recent assessment is of the extent of food shortages in North Korea; and if he will make a statement.

It is not possible to give a recent assessment of the level of food shortages in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Government of the DPRK refused to allow the relevant UN agencies (the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation) to carry out a crop and food assessment during October 2009 that would have established the outcome of the harvest. The Government of the DPRK has said that the harvest last year was 7 per cent. larger than 2008, but this figure cannot be confirmed.

The World Food Programme estimates that 8 million inhabitants of the DPRK do not have enough food for a basic standard of living and that chronic malnutrition continues to be a major concern.