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A top World Health Organization (WHO) official recently disclosed how critical the spread of contagious diseases is in North Korea when she revealed, "North Koreans infected with malaria number 300,000." WHO Secretary General Bruntland made the disclosure in a press conference she held in Seoul following a North Korea tour during which she opened the permanent WHO mission in Pyongyang.
"In June communicable diseases raged in Hamgyong and Yanggang provinces of the North, causing a sharp rise in the number of graves in public cemeteries.
The following article is an exclusive e-mail interview with David Morton (54), the World Food Program(WFP) representative in North Korea. Through access provided to international organizations by the Pyongyang government, Chosun Ilbo was able to conduct a surprising unrestricted interview with David Morton in North Korea. David Mortons UNDP e-mail address was used to facilitate communication between the two parties. This is the first time that an e-mail interview has been conducted between Seoul and Pyongyang.
The World Food Program administers one of its largest humanitarian assistance programs in the world in North Korea. About 25% of the entire North Korean population benefited from the program's relief aid last year, according to the WFP. Operating from five branch offices it has established in the North, including one in Chongjin, North Hamgyong Province, a fruit of its "no access, no food" principle, WFP officials distribute food to North Koreans directly.