Stories of famine and starvation in North Korea are making their way across world newspapers as the release of the United Nations' "Overview of Needs and Assistance" report in May coincided with new accounts of devastation in the country's grain-basket provinces. One thing is clear: North Korea is not once again falling into a food crisis - because that would imply that the country had evaded food shortage at some point in the past two decades. Based on the best estimates, the system appears to be perpetually suffering shortfalls and frequently dipping into a major humanitarian crisis whenever it is brushed by the slightest external pressure: last time it was flooding, this time drought. While the acquisition of food itself remains the key effort in allaying the issue, additional problems exist that significantly further or act as the outright cause of the crisis. Without taking a more holistic approach to this ongoing problem, the situation on the ground will not improve.
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