DPRK

Australian food aid for North Korea

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MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ALEXANDER DOWNER
I am pleased to announce that Australia will provide $3 million of Australian wheat as a contribution to a World Food Program (WFP) feeding program in North Korea in response to a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Australia's contribution follows an appeal by United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, for urgent assistance from Australia and other nations to help avert serious food shortages.

The Australian wheat will be used by local food factories, supported by WFP, to produce nutritionally fortified biscuits and other blended foods for young children and babies.

WFP's current emergency operation to North Korea targets 6.5 million vulnerable people (children, nursing mothers, and the elderly). It is reaching less than half those people owing to a funding shortfall.

Australia's contribution will help maintain the significant gains made over the past several years in reducing malnutrition among vulnerable groups affected by North Korea's chronic food shortages. It brings the total of Australian humanitarian food aid to North Korea since 1996-97 to about $39 million.

Contacts:

Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's office) 6277 7500 or 0419 206890
Jo Elsom (AusAID) 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489