Famine hit N. Korea's rice basket in 2012: Report
SEOUL, (REUTERS) - A famine in a key North Korean grain-growing region in 2012 may have killed thousands of people at the same time as the country was staging mass celebrations to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the state's founder, according to a news agency based in Japan.
It was impossible to verify the report independently and sporadic famines are commonplace in North Korea, according to experts based in South Korea. A United Nations analysis in 2011 showed that around a third of children were malnourished.
The report from Rimjin-gang/ASIAPRESS said that, based on its own reporting from the region and from contact with North Korean defectors and people crossing the border, a famine hit the North and South Hwanghae provinces in January to May 2012.
"Farming villages in the Hwanghae region, and especially in southern Hwanghae province, play an important part as a base for food supply for not just the army but also for city workers,"the report, published last week, said.