UN food body approves $200-m aid for N. Korea

PTI Seoul | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on June 08, 2013

The UN food body has approved $200 million of food aid for North Korea, targeting the country’s most vulnerable people who remain dependent on external assistance.

The World Food Programme (WFP) executive board has this week approved a new two-year operation for North Korea starting on July 1, WFP spokesman Marcus Prior said today.

“It will target about 2.4 million people — almost all children, and pregnant and nursing women — with about 2,07,000 tonnes of food assistance at a cost of $200 million,” he said.

World food programme

WFP will continue to focus on the nutritional needs of young children and their mothers through food which will be manufactured in the North using ingredients imported by the food body.

“WFP remains very concerned about the long-term intellectual and physical development of young children in particular, who are malnourished due to a diet lacking in key proteins, fats and micronutrients,” Prior said.

In March, UN resident coordinator in North Korea Desiree Jongsma said that timely imports from the WFP had contributed to avoiding a crisis this year but two third of the nation’s 24 million population were still chronically food insecure.

Chronic malnutrition

Nearly 28 per cent of children under five in the North suffer from chronic malnutrition and four per cent are acutely malnourished, according to a UN national nutrition survey last year.

Overall production for the main 2012 harvest and early season crops this year was expected to reach 5.8 million tonnes, up 10 per cent on 2011-2012, UN agencies said in November.

But the poverty stricken country is still struggling to eradicate malnutrition and provide its people with vital protein, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and WFP said.

North Korea suffered regular chronic food shortages under the Kim dynasty, with the situation exacerbated by floods, droughts and mismanagement. During a famine in the mid to late-1990s, hundreds of thousands died.

International food aid, especially that from South Korea and the United States, has been drastically cut over the past several years amid tensions over the communist state’s nuclear and missile programmes.

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Published on June 08, 2013
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