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World Food Program Appeals For Funds For North Korea

File photo: Whilst these North Korean children have recieve food aid, there are still thousands more needing help.
by Jun Kwanwoo
Seoul (AFP) Sep 12, 2006
The World Food Programme Tuesday launched an urgent appeal for funds to feed North Korea, saying more than one third of its children are badly malnourished. The UN relief agency said that so far it had received just eight percent of the 102 million dollars it needs to provide 150,000 tonnes of food over the next two years.

"We expect to be running out of commodities within the next two months," WFP deputy executive director John M. Powell told a news conference.

The current relief programme, he said, reaches about one million people in 30 counties, mainly women and children. If fully funded, it could reach 1.9 million people in 50 counties.

Only three countries -- Australia, Cuba and Russia -- have made donations so far in response to the appeal, the WFP said.

The isolated Stalinist state has pressed on with its nuclear and missile programmes despite severe food shortages dating back to the mid-1990s which forced it to accept international aid.

It says it needs to be prepared to forestall a US invasion.

North korea sparked international censure in July by test-firing seven missiles. Asked whether the tests had deterred donors, Powell said the fund-raising problems predated them.

After the missile tests, key humanitarian donor South Korea suspended official rice and fertilizer aid but later decided to resume supplies.

North Korea suffered a devastating famine for several years starting in 1995 in which hundreds of thousands died and survivors were forced to subsist on leaves, tree bark and whatever they could glean. Floods, followed by drought and tidal waves were partly responsible but analysts placed most of the blame on the collectivist agricultural system and inefficient distribution network.

Floods this summer, partly blamed on deforestation by residents desperate for firewood, caused further hardship.

The WFP has already offered 150 tonnes of food aid to the flood victims, Powell said, adding that it and North Korean authorities were in talks on providing another 3,000 tonnes of food aid.

The WFP said last month that an estimated 60,000 North Koreans were left homeless and 30,000 hectares (74,100 acres) of farmland destroyed in the recent flooding. The agency said flooding of farmland caused the loss of 100,000 tonnes of food supplies, adding to the chronic food crisis.

Pyongyang's official media said "hundreds of people" were dead or missing.

The WFP says its humanitarian aid reached 97 million people worldwide, including 58 million children, in 82 countries last year.

But the outlook is still bleak, according to Powell.

He said 812 million people in developing countries still lack enough food, and 25,000 people worldwide die of hunger or hunger-related diseases every day.

"The sad fact is that the hungry get hungrier," Powell said, in reference to a vicious cycle of hunger, poor education and poverty.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
World Food Programme
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com

North Korea Facing Tougher Sanctions
Seoul (UPI) Sep 12, 2006
The United States is moving to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea after concluding the defiant communist country is unwilling to return to the six-nation talks on its nuclear program, South Korean officials said Tuesday.







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