A California-based aid group is sending corn to North Korea to help ease its acute food shortage, South Korean officials said Sunday.
A 500-ton shipment, the first of a 10,000-ton corn donation planned by World Vision International, was being loaded this weekend onto rail cars at Changchun, China, they said.
The Chinese corn is scheduled to go to Namyang, a border city in North Korea’s Hamkyong province, an area believed to be suffering severe food shortages.
The corn was bought with funds provided mostly by the group’s South Korean chapter, said a South Korean government official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The donation was prompted by reports that poverty is widespread in the reclusive communist country.
Fifty North Koreans who defected to South Korea last year all reported acute food shortages there. They said many peasants survive on only a bowl of gruel a day.