20.000 children in North Korea receive food aid
The Danish relief and development organization Mission East is now distributing aid to thousands of children in nurseries, kindergartens and orphanages in North Korea.
Mission East’s Managing Director, Kim Hartzner, emphasizes that the need is great.
“Last time we went to North Korea we saw for ourselves how desperate the need is. Almost all the children we encountered were malnourished, and the situation has not improved. We are thankful once again to be able to distribute aid, but the need is still huge”, Kim Hartzner says, as he left for North Korea once again to oversee some of the distribution from the 26th of June to the 5th of July.
The children only receive scarce portions of rice or maize and little other nourishment, resulting in many being chronically and acutely malnourished. Therefore the help is crucial for the survival of the children and for their physical and mental development. The aid Mission East is providing consists of a rich nutritional supplement.
“We have a unique opportunity to provide humanitarian assistance to children in one of the world’s most closed countries where many people, and particularly the children suffer greatly. Approximately 400,000 malnourished children are in urgent need for help. In the 1990s an estimated 1 million people died from hunger and we are worried that a similar situation may take place again,” says Kim Hartzner, calling for both public and private donors to support the suffering children of North Korea.
Mission East carefully monitors the food distribution according to humanitarian principles. Mission East has distributed food in North Korea several times now, and has been able to do random visits and detailed checks to make sure the aid reaches the ones in greatest need.
By the 1st of May only 38 percent of the UNs budget for humanitarian assistance to DPRK in 2012 has come in. The UN has called North Korea one of the world’s most underfunded humanitarian emergencies.
Further comments: Managing Director Kim Hartzner on 00 45 39 61 20 48 Further information: Journalist Maria Callesen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or journalist Tania Rusbjerg (email@example.com) on 00 45 39 61 20 48 See also www.miseast.org
Mission East in North Korea
• Starting in June, 20.000 children in the city of Haeju in South Hwanghae province will receive a three-month supply of nutritional supplement.
• UN recommends that the children get a nutritional supplement, because their sparse meals normally consist primarily of rice or maize with very little protein and sometimes a few vegetables. The nutritional supplement being provided by Mission East (called TopNutri), fully covers a child’s need for vitamins and minerals and improves the protein quality of their food.
• Mission East carefully monitors the distribution of food to ensure help reaches the most vulnerable children.
• Mission East wishes to expand with more distributions and appeal for more funding.
• If possible we would like to link our disaster relief to long-term development efforts in North Korea.
• Mission East has worked in North Korea since May 2011.
• Established in 1991, Mission East has provided aid and development assistance to countries in Eastern Europe and Asia where 2/3 of the world’s poor live.
• Mission East works in accordance with the humanitarian principles: humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality.
The Food Situation
• According UN estimates, 1/3 of all North Korean children are malnourished and up to 400,000 are in urgent need of help.
• In 2011, the country was hit by several natural disasters that destroyed the harvest and reduced the amount of food. This had severe consequences for an already vulnerable population. Another period of shortage can be fatal for the most vulnerable.
• The most vulnerable groups are: children, pregnant and lactating women, elderly, large families with few breadwinners, sick people and people with disabilities.
• North Korea’s import of food has been reduced because of falling export revenues, higher global food prices and higher oil prices. Furthermore the amount of food aid given to North Korea from other countries has been reduced during recent years.
• North Korea needs support for more effective agricultural production and improved storage of food.
• On average, North Korea has a deficit of 1 million metric tons of cereal annually from the total amount it needs in order to feed its population.