Under the distribution system, the army, government functionaries and party loyalists receive preferential treatment, followed by industrial workers.
Vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, widows and children, are the last to be served and frequently get nothing in times of severe shortages.
The North Korean word kotjebi (꽃제비) is fast becoming a household word in South Korea. The word is said to have its origin in a Russian word, kochev’ye, meaning wanderer. Thousands of war orphans roamed the streets of Pyongyang and elsewhere in search of food. The government set up Children Hostel to keep the homeless children our of the street. Inside the hostel, there were no food and medical care, the children are simply waiting to die inside.
The United States has suspended food shipments and is demanding proof food aid will not be misused before they resume.