Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned the nation that a new famine is imminent REUTERS/KCNA

North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un has told citizens that they must prepare "to chew on the roots of plants" as a devastating new famine looms. In an editorial in state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun, citizens were told not to despair as "the road to revolution is long and arduous".

Pyongyang recently announced a nationwide drive to save food due to the slow arrival of the 440,000 tons of food aid requested from the international community. Estimates suggest that just 17,600 tons had been delivered by early February.

The newspaper added that citizens, even when faced with the unenviable prospect of starving to death, must still obey their 33-year-old leader. "Even if we give up our lives, we should continue to show our loyalty to our leader, Kim Jong-un, until the end of our lives".

The editorial said: "We may have to go on an arduous march, during which we will have to chew the roots of plants once again". The term "arduous march" was coined by the country's ruling elite as a metaphor for a devastating four-year famine which gripped the impoverished nation from 1994.

The famine in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPKR) over 20 years ago claimed the lives of an estimated 3.5 million people, according to the Telegraph. It was due to a combination of economic collapse, natural disasters and the loss of aid.

Despite North Koreans starving to death, Kim's grandfather Kim Il-Sung continued living a life of luxury. During this time, the ruling Workers Party of Korea banned terms like "hunger" and "famine" as they implied that the government had failed the population.

The latest series of sanctions on the isolated country were in response to its nuclear test in February. North Korea followed up these tests by firing at least two medium-range ballistic missiles on 18 March, one of which flew about 500 miles (800km) before landing in the sea.