Earth & Conservation

Which Countries Give Aid To North Korea?

North Korea is in a severe drought, yet due to high tensions with the US, its food aid options are slim. So who's giving aid to North Korea?

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According to its state-run news agency, North Korea is in the midst of a major drought, the worst in a century. According to The New York Times, the entire Korean peninsula has entered an unusually dry period during a crucial time in the rice-growing harvest. The UN has expressed major concern over inadequate food supplies in North Kroea, saying that up to 70 percent of the country's population is food insecure.

In times like these, how does North Korea survive? The country relies quite a lot on foreign aid, part of which is food. From 1996 to 2004, the U.S., Japan, China, and South Korea donated a tremendous amount of food aid. Since 1995, the U.S. alone supplied $1.3 billion in aid and two million tons of food. However, as North Korea builds up its nuclear weapons program and maintains a horrible human rights record, foreign aid has dwindled. As discussed here, food donations often get tied up in international politics, effectively cutting off the food supply for many North Koreans.

Learn More:
North Korea Faces Severe Shortfall In Foreign Food Aid (
"A funding crunch for aid to North Korea has become so severe 500,000 rural schoolchildren are as of this month no longer receiving assistance and aid to millions more could soon dry up, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press."

Foreign Assistance to North Korea (
"Between 1995 and 2008, the United States provided North Korea with over $1.3 billion in assistance: slightly more than 50% for food aid and about 40% for energy assistance."

In Focus: North Korea's Nuclear Threats (
"North Korea has been issuing near-daily threats against the United States and South Korea, and sometimes at United States forces in the Pacific."

United Nations' Food Aid Program for North Korea Lacks Donors (
"The United Nations' food assistance agency says it may have to stop operating in North Korea because of a lack of funding, as donors continue to shy away from the rogue state."