I note with interest that many news organizations are headed to east Africa to report on the famine there. Yes, it is horrible and yes, it is good to put the spotlight on it. With spotlights, some begin to look to solutions. We need solutions.
Not to create “dueling famines,” I do hope, however, that there is also a spotlight put on the continuing famine in North Korea (DPRK.) A country so sealed off from the world – by their government’s own choice - is easy for the media to ignore. We made our 3rd trip to North Korea in May with Reverend Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse to highlight the horrible famine there now. This famine started about June 1 and is getting worse by the hour. We (ON THE RECORD at 10pm) were able to air OTR live to spotlight the food crisis there. Each time we go, we get more access. It is not free and open access – but we are trying and we are getting more and more each trip. I am also grateful to Fox News Channel for helping OTR put a spotlight on this food crisis. It is not cheap and not popular. I know it is very difficult to get into DPRK / North Korea to put the spotlight on the food crisis but persistence pays off. We have been persistent…very persistent. Of course all the humanitarian aid by Reverend Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse was a ticket for us to get in.
So how bad is it? The World Food Program of the UN has estimated the famine numbers will be 1 – 6 million citizens of North Korea. In the 90′s, it is estimated that 1,000,000 died from the famine in North Korea and now a famine is back and with a vengeance. They experienced floods and a frigid winter destroying their harvest and it is countrywide. People are eating roots, leaves, insects…whatever they can find. They are starving…dying.
Yes, I know…North Korea government has a nuclear bomb…we are still at war with them…and they threaten the region, including our good friends in South Korea. This makes the issue all the more delicate to handle.
One thing to note: our disagreement is with the GOVERNMENT of North Korea — and not with the citizens who have been fed propaganda about us. On this most recent trip we were permitted to interview some farm workers and they were obviously terrified of us and terrified that they might say something wrong. They shook while talking to us.
And yes, I know. We have problems and lots of them here at home but to the extent we reach down in our hearts and help others, I hope we don’t forget these starving people.