North Korea Today No. 312 - Dec 2009

News and Press Release
Originally published


["Good Friends" aims to help the North Korean people from a humanistic point of view and publishes "North Korea Today" describing the way the North Korean people live as accurately as possible. We at Good Friends also hope to be a bridge between the North Korean people and the world.]


Food Rations not Given to Absentee Workers Taken by Other Workers

The food rations for the first half of October was distributed in corn to the factories and state enterprises, including railroads in North Hamgyong Province. Railroad-related industry received food starting on the 13th, while regular factories and enterprises began receiving food on the 16th. Factories brought moisture measuring devices and demanded that they be given more since the weight of the moisture should be deducted from the overall weight of the food. But the farmers, arguing against their demands, are saying that this year's harvest was poor. Attendance sheets were checked for daily absences and food was deducted for the days absent without excuses. This led to food being left over for each factory and enterprise. At an enterprise with around 200 workers, 1,500kg of corn was left over after distribution. In many cases, the workers use this food as they please. However, in the official ledger, they record the food as being spent to purchase work-related material.

In Geumya County, Food Bought by Selling Material to be Used for Bridge Construction

In Geumya County, South Hamgyong Province, the military began the construction of the Geumya Bridge by using its own resources. They are providing one meal per day to the laborers because they did not collect enough food. They usually provide noodles, with only radish flavored by salt and soy sauce as a side dish. Although noodle is not fulfilling, the laborers have no choice but to eat what they can. Some workers are stealing cement and other construction material to sell to buy food. The managers yell and warn the laborers morning and night, to no avail. Thefts are continuing. Some laborers who are in worse shape than others often don't show up. It has become the job of head manager and cell secretaries to round up laborers by going from house to house. One worker said that, "Although our military try to plan and carry out its challenging goal of constructing this bridge using its own resources; it's a tough job as long as the food situation isn't solved."

Public Food Distribution System used to Cover Food Shipping Costs

Although prices fell in the grain market, offices of the Grain Administration Departments in the South and North Hwanghae Provinces and the South and North Pyongan Provinces have been unable to resume normal business. Each offices of the Grain Administration Department receive food from nearby farms, and it is up to the individual farms to transport the food to the offices. However, because of the lack of vehicles in the farms, the farms use cargo vehicles from factories and enterprises. Moreover, the factories and enterprises are deducting fuel costs from the laborers' rations. As a result, the laborers are not receiving their full rations.