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Doctor Uncovers Starvation in North Korea - 2003-05-28


Senior U.S., Japanese, and South Korean officials will meet in Tokyo as early as next month to coordinate a plan for resolving the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

In North Korea, the regime of Kim Jong-il has been accused of not doing enough to end famine and disease. Under Kim’s control, the country has been closed almost entirely to outsiders. But one doctor, Norbert Vollertsen of Germany, did get into North Korea. After seeing firsthand the conditions in the country, he is now doing what he can to publicize the desperate state of North Korea’s poor.

VOA-TV’s George Dwyer has more on “one doctor’s dedication”.

Working as a volunteer medical doctor in North Korea from July 1999 until late 2000, Dr. Norbert Vollertsen had access to places not usually seen by outsiders. He used that opportunity to record these video images of life in North Korea.

DR. NORBERT VOLLERTSEN
“The video footage shows a ride to the countryside in North Korea, to one of our children’s hospitals north of Pyongyang.”

“Then we are arriving in this countryside hospital. And then you can see that there is even no operation facility. There is no operation hall. We were forced to enter this so-called building through the window. There is no door, the door was broken.”

“And then inside you can see the conditions there: no isolation, no heating system, no running water, no electricity, no lights in winter, no medicine, no instruments, no operation facilities.”

Dr. Vollertsen has been traveling the world publicizing the plight of the North Koreans, and urging governments and organizations to help them.

DR. NORBERT VOLLERTSEN
“The ordinary North Korean people are no red devils, they are nice human beings, they are human beings like you and me.”

But, he says, they are victims of their own government – the government of Kim Jong-Il, which Dr. Vollertsen says uses food as a weapon against his own people.

DR. NORBERT VOLLERTSEN
“Kim Jong-Il is committing genocide, He is systematically starving his own people because he knows how effective this weapon is.”

Those most affected, says Dr. Vollertsen, are the children.

DR. NORBERT VOLLERTSEN
“There’s sadness in their eyes. They can’t laugh any more, they can’t cry any more. So again, I took the video footage of some children at the children’s hospital. And there those children they looked like prisoners of German concentration camps in their blue and white striped pajamas, so I took the whole footage.”

NATURAL SOUND – DR. VOLLERTSEN SPEAKING

Dr. Norbert Vollertsen is a man on a mission – determined to tell the story of the suffering in North Korea, in the hope that somehow it will make a difference.

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