December 07, 2023

3 years into pandemic, fears mount that North Korea is teetering toward famine

Experts say food insecurity appears to be worst in decades, but DPRK’s COVID isolation obscures situation on the ground

The specter of famine has long loomed over North Korea, and three years into the pandemic, a range of indicators suggest the country is closer to widespread starvation than it has been in decades.

An extreme drought struck the country last spring, and South Korea estimates that the DPRK produced 180,000 tons less food in 2022 than the previous year. Imports remain well-below pre-pandemic levels, even after an uptick last year, and humanitarian aid has struggled to reach the country.