Poor harvest could spell hard winter for rural North Koreans

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North Koreans are hunkering down for a harsh winter that some fear could be made worse by a poor harvest following summer floods.

In rural areas, people are out each day on snow-covered roads pulling cartloads of firewood and cabbage and stockpiling whatever else they can for the months ahead. Most have just finished preparing their kimchi, the pickled and spiced cabbage that is a staple of the Korean diet.

To get through the winter, many rural North Koreans will use charcoal braziers or burn wood or corn husks for heat, which can lead to asphyxiation if homes shut tight against the subzero temperatures are not ventilated properly.

They will also need to stretch out their supply of kimchi, government rations and whatever they can grow in their “kitchen gardens” — small plots of land that families are allowed to maintain to grow food for their own needs. If they are lucky enough to have a chicken, they may have an egg or two. In some regions, they might have access to a very small amount of meat and fish.

The combination of the limited variety of foods that are available and the stresses on the body from the frigid weather creates major hardship for most North Koreans. Read more

[Japan Times]

This entry was posted in by Grant Montgomery.

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