Nearly half of the North Korean army is starving because of the acute food shortages in the country, it has emerged.
According to the Telegraph, the food shortage that previously affected only the civilian population has worsened and has now started affecting institutions tasked with protecting Kim Jong-Il's regime.
A video footage, smuggled by disaffected North Koreans working secretly as journalists within the country for the Japan-based Asiapress International news agency, showed soldiers in different parts of the country complaining of malnutrition.
According to the paper, when asked how many of the men in his unit are experiencing malnutrition, one young conscript said it is as high as 50 per cent in the spring.
Another solider added that the condition is likely to get worse after a while
"After the potatoes are harvested, we only have seven small potatoes for one meal," said the soldier, adding that each potato is only the size of a thumb.
"The shortage of food is not only in this unit. Food shortages and malnutrition are rampant among all troops," the soldier said.
The paper also quoted one officer charged with regional security for the government, as saying that their rations for one meal weighted 100 grams, or just 3.5 ounces.
The United Nations World Food Programme earlier launched an emergency food aid operation for those considered most at risk in North Korea.
The food situation, however, worsened later when flooding across large areas of the nation's most productive arable land affected the harvest.