North Korea Today No. 228 - Oct 2008

News and Press Release
Originally published


The Secretary In Charge of Hoeryong Municipal Party Visits Farms To Estimate a Yield Per Pyong

On September 25, the Secretary in charge of the municipal party of Hoeryong in North Hamgyong Province visited farms to estimate yields per pyong (unit of land, 1 pyong is 3.954 sq.). Workers from the Ministry of Agriculture had made an estimate of 6 MT for a yield per jungbo (unit of land, 1 jungbo is 2.45acres, and 3,000 pyong). Yet, the Secretary considered this calculation overestimated, and thus, personally visited farms to confirm it. After a farm tour, the Secretary has reached a conclusion that "I doubt if it will reach 3 MT per pyong," expressed concerns about the state's considerably high projected amount.

"It's Dangerous to Eat Udong Imported from China"

A rumor that "It is dangerous to eat udong imported from China" has been circulating among residents. Residents said that the rumor of Chinese udong originally came from the health department and Pyongsung social science institute in Pyongsung City, South Pyongan Province. Experts in health science conducted an examination of imported udong noodles and discovered that these noodles were made of 20 % of flour and 80 % of impurities, including grits (or stone dust). Kim Jung-mi, a 42-year old resident of Pyongsung said, "Udong noodles are heavy because they contain grits. Doctors publicly mentioned a three-year consumption of udong noodles can cause a serious health problem or a death due to grits (grits will block up all internal organs)." Despite doctors' warning, Kim continued to say, "During a period of food shortages like now, people still buy and eat udong noodles because they are cheaper than corn noodles. Even doctors who are warning not to eat udong noodles still have them for dinner. We want to eat nutritious and good foods, too, but they are all expensive. What can we do? No matter we know it or not, we still have to allow ourselves to be deceived to survive."

A Food Refugee Who Sought Refuge with His Sister

A number of people in Gaechun County, South Pyongan Province had died of hunger this spring. Kwon Tae-bok, a 41-year old resident, took a refuge in his sister's house in Chungjin City some time ago. Kwon lost not only his old parents but also his young wife and two children, respectively five and eight years old, during this year's food crisis. Kwon could not stop crying while he was talking of his family's death. He could not sleep well, he also mentioned, for a single day due to feelings of guilt about being the only survivor in his family. With no desire for living, he just traveled to Chungjin where his other siblings live. Once he saw his siblings, however, he felt the desire to live again. Although it not yet clear how he could make a living, he still showed a strong will about his life and said that he would do anything, including piecework and work on a ship and a farm, once he is recovered from the long journey.