OTR Interviews

Will the World Community Step in to Prevent Famine in North Korea?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now are going deep inside North Korea far beyond Pyongyang. This is Part 1. We left with Reverend Graham and headed north to the border with China. The roads are so bad it took eight hours to travel the 130 miles. Just a note, at all times we were accompanied by representatives of the North Korean government.

Along the way, we made a few stops to check out the country's farmland. Workers are struggling to plant. It is too late for the June harvest devastated by a harsh winter and flooding. That means a food shortage begins in two weeks.

Like in 1997, unless the world sends food, millions are expected to begin to starve to death.


VAN SUSTEREN: We are back in DPRK, or North Korea. This is our third "On the Record" trip this one is different. The first two we wanted to bring the American people to get a look at what this country is liked, sealed off from the rest of the world and we don't off get a chance to get a look at what goes on here in this country and meet their people.

This trip is very different because this country is on the verge of a catastrophe. It is said by the world community beginning in June, they will run out of food and there will be a famine. The estimates of anywhere from one million to six million who will starve. This is a country of 26 million. One to six million may starve to death beginning in the month of June.

We are going to look to see what this famine is about and explore the differences between the United States and this country about food contributions. There's a huge controversy about whether or not the United States will continue to give food. They gave food a couple years ago but it was stopped.

Now "On the Record" is the ground. We are going to drive to the northern part of this country and get a look at what is going on. We are delighted to be back, Delighted the government has allowed us to come back into this country.

Reverend Graham, where are you in relationship to Pyongyang?

THE REVEREND FRANKLIN GRAHAM, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: We're about an hour and a half north. On our way up to the river to where we will be spending the night. You are beginning to get into the countryside of North Korea.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is it different? Tell the viewers how it is different from Pyongyang as far as we are now?

GRAHAM: We went for the last hour, field after field. Of course this is planting season. I think I saw two tractors the entire time. The tractors are antiquated. If America wanted to do something for this country, essentially, give them 1,000 tractors it could revolutionize their ability to farm. It's pathetic. Most of this is done by hand.

VAN SUSTEREN: This is a farming community?

GRAHAM: Just a little farming community. We passed all these fields. You don't see a tractor anywhere. How can this country feed itself without the kind of equipment we have in our country? To me, if the United States wanted to help, a gift of tractors, just tractors alone could make a big difference. Look at these houses. I asked our driver, how do these people heat their homes in the winter? They heat them with wood.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where is the wood?

GRAHAM: I don't know. Some parts of the country it is cold. I believe it is probably for many of the people there may not be heat in the winter.

VAN SUSTEREN: We are at a cooperative farm. That's China behind us?

GRAHAM: Right there where you see the flag, that's China.

VAN SUSTEREN: This area here has particular significance to Samaritan's Purse. Explain.

GRAHAM: Last August this valley was flooded by the river behind us. The people, we are on an island here. This whole island went underwater. They evacuate with helicopter. We brought in a lot of emergency shelter material on a 747. We had pictures where people on that dam we crossed coming in people set up and made shelters for themselves. All of these houses were underwater at that time.

VAN SUSTEREN: A point I want to make sure we've seen the plastic Samaritan's Purse has brought that is for the harvest in October-November. That is not going to solve the immediate problem of June which is a different situation, different issue.

GRAHAM: It is a different situation. The plastic is being used for the planning season now. You won't see the harvest until you get into the fall. So the problem that the government is facing now is they have a food shortage starting this coming month in June. They are going to be -- I've been told, by -- this is the World Food Program, that their food stocks are going to be gone.

So there's an emergency. Right now the rations for the average person in this area is around 700, 650 calories a day. So I don't know how they are going to make it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Over my right shoulder is the Yalu River. And beyond the river is the country of China. Take a look at how the area is so built up, the tall buildings just across the river. We don't have that type of buildings right here in DPRK, North Korea. I'm at one of the northern most parts of North Korea. You can see the contrast between China and here in the DPRK.

Over my left shoulder is the friendship bridge that connects North Korea and China. Over here are plastic rolls, the plastic rolls delivered by Samaritan's Purse, to the people of North Korea. Right here is about 80,000 pounds of plastic wrap. In total Samaritan's Purse has delivered 2.2 million square yards of plastic to this country.

This plastic wrap is essential to their harvest. But here's the catch, this is very badly need by this country. This country is extremely grateful to get it from Samaritan's Purse. However, this will help with their harvest come November. And the problem that is bearing down on this country is the famine that is expected to start in June where there is a risk, at least an estimate by many in the world community that one to six million will starve to death because they've had such terrible crops and such a harsh winter in this country.

So this is greatly needed by this country, what is a longer term solution. The bigger problem is they run the risk, come June, enormous food shortage in this country. There could be one to six million people that begin to starve to death.