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N. Korea's public food rations up in 2013: report

All Headlines 10:32 August 07, 2013

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is providing more food rations to its people in 2013 than in the year before despite a drop in aid from abroad, a media report said Wednesday.

The report by Radio Free Asia, based on data provided by the World Food Program (WFP), showed that Pyongyang provided roughly 400 grams of food per person on a daily basis in the first five months of the year.

The daily rations, from January through May, were maintained at 400 grams per person, before they were decreased to 390 grams in June and July, bringing the average to 397 grams, according to the Washington-based radio station. The total represents a 14-gram increase from an average of 383 grams tallied in the same seven-month period last year.

In the communist country, 66 percent of the total population, or about 16 million people, receive state food rations.

The report, meanwhile, said the increase is noteworthy because it comes at a time when international aid has fallen significantly.

The WFP, the food aid branch of the United Nations, started an ambitious two-year program in February to provide food to the North Korean people, but it has so far failed to meet even half of its goals.

The drop in interest to help the North coincides with the country's saber-rattling tactics that included detonating its nuclear device in February and near-daily war threats against South Korea and the United States.

Regarding the increased food rations, North Korea watchers in Seoul have said a relatively good harvest in the North in 2012 and its greater emphasis on increasing farm output may be bearing fruit.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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