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  • » 06/26/2009, 00.00

    KOREA

    World Food Program: humanitarian crisis in North Korea



    Among the areas most affected are rural areas of the north. The WFP projects cover for only 15% of the real needs of the population. Pyongyang has banned aid from the United States. Caritas Korea among the few organizations that has never stopped flow of aid to the North.

    Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In North Korea there is a serious humanitarian crisis that is affecting the remote rural areas in the north of the country. Paul Risley, Asia spokesman for the World Food Program (WFP), reports that the crisis has been worsened by the Pyongyang decision to shut down aid from the United States.

    Currently, the WFP in North Korea can only operate at 15% capacity, providing food to less than 1.5 million people out of more than 6.2 million who need aid to survive. "These are very vulnerable people," Paul Risley told Radio Free Asia. Among the most affected are the "children in schools, orphanages and those living in more remote villages," along with "women and the elderly."

    Several times in the past North Korea has experienced severe food crises, which affected millions of people. The economy of the country - and agriculture in particular - has collapsed and the dictatorship is investing billions of dollars in weapons, leaving the people to starve. Several international humanitarian organizations involved in aid programs, accuse the regime of  taking the food destined for the people, delivering it instead to the military leadership and the leadership of the Communist Party in power.

    In October 2008 the Pyongyang regime also prevented the WFP from investigating the nutrition levels of the North Koreans. According to experts, the investigation was "crucial" in order to understand how serious the food emergency was in North Korea.

    Among the few institutions that still manage to provide aid and support to the North Korean population is Caritas Korea. Despite the political and military tensions between the two Koreas, the Catholic Association has never stopped its program of assistance to the North.

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    See also

    28/11/2009 NORTH KOREA
    Pyongyang tightens grip: death even for those who steal rice
    The Stalinist regime of Kim Jong-il has changed the criminal code. Because of hunger increased food theft; to stop it, death for thieves.

    04/06/2008 NORTH KOREA
    North Korea, 800,000 dead from famine
    In the socialist regime of Kim Jong-il, one of the most isolated countries in the world, people are dying of hunger because of last year's floods and the corruption of the government, which is confiscating food from the people with every possible excuse. Munitions factory workers condemned to death, forced to work without food and without the possibility of leaving the factory.

    30/09/2004 china - north korea
    China asks Canada to hand over North Korean asylum-seekers


    17/04/2008 NORTH KOREA
    Population crushed by famine, but the regime saves the statues of the Kims
    The World Food Programme of the UN raises the alarm: 6.5 million North Koreans risk dying of hunger. The regime responds with enormous waste devoted to the cult of personality of the two dictators: 890 million dollars to save the statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il in case of attack.

    09/08/2005 SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA
    Human rights violations in North Korea: death sentences, forced abortions, death by starvation




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