World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Severe Food Shortages For Millions in North Korea

UN Agency Warns Of Continuing Severe Food Shortages For Millions In Dpr Of Korea

Despite a stop-gap resumption of food aid to the hungriest of the hungry in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), 1.5 million people will still go short over the next six weeks and millions more will be deprived in the second half of the year unless additional donations arrive soon, the United Nations emergency feeding agency warned today.

Shortages reached a new unprecedented low at the beginning of February when the World Food Programme (WFP) could only provide enough cereal to feed 85,000 women and children - a tiny fraction of the 6.5 million people considered most at risk. Cereals are the main staple of the food aid ration.

Since WFP launched its latest urgent appeal on 9 February, contributions have been received from Germany, New Zealand, Canada and Norway, and in particular a stop-gap loan this month of 25,000 tonnes of cereals from the DPRK’s own limited strategic stocks – normally used for the public distribution system – has allowed deliveries to be resumed to most of the hungry.

A further donation of 60,000 tons of food from the United States and important contributions from the European Commission and Australia will also provide crucially needed assistance, but deliveries will only start arriving in April and will not last very long.

WFP Executive Director James Morris warned that much more food would be needed this year if the agency is to avoid further cuts in aid to its neediest beneficiaries after a recent round of severe aid shortages greatly aggravated the already severe humanitarian crisis.

“Our ability to borrow commodities to cover this month means that we can now resume cereal distributions to most - but not all - of the 6.5 million children, women and elderly identified as particularly needy," Masood Hyder, WFP Representative for the DPRK, said. “But it's critical to remember that this is only a partial and temporary solution, as the loans will have to be repaid as soon as possible from future donor contributions to WFP."

Even with the agency’s stop-gap borrowings from the DPRK and other sources, 1.5 million of its 4.2 million "core" beneficiaries will still have to make do without cereal rations for the next six weeks. Scheduled shipments will reduce that number to 600,000 in April-May, but without further commitments soon, the number will rise again to 1 million in June and to almost 3 million in August.

"Given the long lead time between food aid donations and deliveries - routinely three to four months - we need pledges now in order to feed the hungriest of the hungry in the latter part of the year as well as to repay loans," Mr. Hyder said.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news