The food availability in North Korea is a matter of concern to the regime of Kim Jong-un. While prioritizing its nuclear missile programs, it has ignored the more critical aspect of its food availability. Because of the secret nature of the country, it isn't easy to ascertain an accurate picture. However, defectors from the North who are now in the South revealed that many families do not have enough to eat and going hungry. The situation could deteriorate as winter sets in when the most vulnerable might face starvation. As an editor of a local media outlet says: "Problems such as more orphan children on the streets and death by starvation are continuously being reported." He adds that the suffering for the lower strata of society is increasing.

North Korea had closed its border with China to prevent the spread of coronavirus from that country. That has added to the food crisis.

The pandemic worsened the food situation for the North

Food shortage is not new to North Korea. It has always struggled with this issue, but the coronavirus has worsened the situation. Kim Jong-un, the leader of the North, compared the current situation to the country's worst disaster in the 1990s. In that famine, the death toll was in hundreds of thousands. It seems North Korea is making efforts to re-open its border with China. The extent to which it would help is anybody's guess. It has to be adequate to repair the already damaged economy. Typhoons destroyed much of the crops of last year.

Hence, it has to rely on the current year's harvest. The United Nations estimates that North Korea would fall short of at least two to three months' food supply.

Global warming makes North Korea more vulnerable

U.S. intelligence agencies have tagged the North as one of 11 countries most vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

That could restrict the area it has for the cultivation of crops. An expert says: "Rice and maize yield failures will become more likely along the western coastline, which is North Korea's historical breadbasket." This could be a reason for Pyongyang sending its UK ambassador to the COP26 in Glasgow. The country is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.

These include floods, monsoon rains, and typhoons. These have a direct impact on its yield. The North admitted that coronavirus and lockdowns had sparked hardships. One option for the regime is to abandon its nuclear weapon program. That will mean ease of sanctions and opening up of business opportunities. The hermit kingdom should decide to come out from isolation.

The economy of North Korea is deteriorating

According to WION, the downslide in the economy of North Korea has put its most vulnerable citizens at greater risk of hunger. The country is experiencing a food crisis for the past few months. In the opinion of experts, the regime is trying to play it down. However, the fact remains that the situation is gradually deteriorating.

Those who have defected and are now living in South Korea reveal that their families in the North are starving. The most vulnerable among them might have to go hungry once winter sets in. To ensure the safety of its people against coronavirus, the country closed its border in January. That affected trade with China, its main ally. The North will have to rethink its strategies. North Korea is considering a change of food habits by suggesting the introduction of black swans on the menu.