That Pyongyang made this claim publicly – though it’s not exactly a secret – is cause for concern. From 1995-1997, North Korea faced a famine that killed 200,000; however declassified intelligence estimates put the number closer to 2 million. This disparity in reporting occurred during a leadership transition in which Kim Jong-il took over for his father Kim Il-sung in 1994. Jong-il wasn’t able to fully consolidate power until 1997 at the end of the famine. During this period the nation had become increasingly more insular and reporting on the humanitarian crisis was largely inconsistent and poorly understood because of the leadership transition. It was also during this time that the fragile food distribution system had collapsed and has remained unworkable because of agricultural mismanagement.
Further compounding the problem is the Kim Jong-il, and now Kim Jong-un regimes have used food as a weapon in controlling the population. This recent drought has caused crop failures in 30 percent of the rice paddies and will only strain an already failed system.
Read complete report here.