The World Food Program on Thursday appealed for 500,000 tons of aid to feed 6.5 million North Koreans this year, warning that the North still faces severe shortages as world attention focuses on helping tsunami survivors.Of course, maintaining a huge army, building and buying nuclear weapons and threatening all your neighbors, doesn't come cheap, either.
North Koreans' ability to feed themselves has been hurt by soaring prices as the communist government opens private markets in an effort to diversify its economy, the U.N. agency said.
"Millions of children, women and elderly people are barely subsisting because they lack both the quantity and quality of nourishment they deserve," the WFP's director in North Korea , Richard Ragan, said in a statement by the agency.
North Korea has relied on foreign aid to feed many of its 23.7 million people since its state-run farm system collapsed in the mid-1990s.
Blaming the problem on a growing free market system smacks of DPRK propaganda instead of straight news.
Update: An earlier post on North Korea and how it manages to sustain its way of life here.