Korea – Famine Worse Than Imagined
Famine Worse Than Imagined
Severe famine in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea has recently drawn the world’s attention. To buy food, the country has been selling as much scrap iron as possible, including some factory machines, and stripping the hillsides for trees to burn for fuel. The resulting floods of the past three years have destroyed crops and fertile land.
Visitors to North Korea say the children, traditionally given what food is available to ensure the nation’s future, are showing signs of malnutrition as well. Becoming refugees to surrounding nations is not an option to these people.
“The people of South Korea have a strong desire to reach out to their brothers and sisters in the North,” says Lt. Colonel Robert Saunders, chief secretary, “despite the fact that the Korean Peninsula remains one of the last countries divided by political differences.”
The Korean National Council of Churches has mounted a campaign for all member churches to provide funding and food for the North, which the government says must be channeled through the Korean Red Cross.
The Western Territory this year has pledged $80,000, with an additional $20,000 from International Headquarters. So far, The Salvation Army in Korea has contributed approximately US$33,700 for the food program, and has purchased ten tons of barley in China for delivery to the famine-stricken area.
As part of the food program, a food processing company in the Republic of Korea packaged 4.5 million servings of ramyun (instant noodles). This particular package, listing all participating churches, is 20 percent larger than the usual size.
A recent photograph published in The Korea Times shows the infrequent operation of the fuel-starved train system, a further burden to interior transportation.
“The dire conditions in North Korea will continue into the future,” Saunders says. “Salvationists of the Korea Territory continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the North with sincerity that one day there may be an opportunity of doing more to be of assistance to a significant national need.”
When the Founder visited Japan in 1907, he dispatched Commissioner George Scott Railton to look at prospects in the Korean peninsula. In October 1908, Colonel and Mrs. Robert Hoggard arrived with a group of officers to “open fire” in Seoul. During the Korean conflict following 1950, one Korean officer was martyred, one killed and two were listed as missing.