DPR Korea: WFP warns of 'humanitarian disaster' in North

North Korea's food shortage has drastically worsened in recent months due to insufficient international aid, with the country's northeastern region facing "a humanitarian emergency" unless aid is received, a United Nations agency said yesterday.

"The drastic deterioration of food security is causing the populations in North Hamgyong and Ryanggang provinces and some counties in South Hamgyong to suffer acute food and livelihood crises, and should urgent food assistance not be provided, this could lead to a humanitarian emergency," the World Food Program said.

In the September issue of the report, titled "Operational Priorities," the WFP called for additional emergency aid from the international community, saying its food reserves earmarked for hungry North Koreans will soon dry out.

"A significant shortfall of 146,709 metric tons of commodities is expected for the next six months, with immediate pipeline breaks in blended foods and oil due to delayed confirmation of shipments and limited contributions from other donors," the report said.

It said around 2.7 million people on the west coast will run out of food in early October, while 1.4 million residents on the more vulnerable east coast will face a complete pipeline break in aid in November.

The WFP last month said North Korea will slip back into famine unless given aid worth about $500 million in the next 15 months and has formally asked South Korea to contribute up to $60 million for its campaign in North Korea. South Korea has yet to respond to the appeal.

North Korea this year did not request annual humanitarian aid shipments of about 400,000 tons of rice from the South as inter-Korean relations soured after the conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office in late February.

Lee has proposed talks with the North on sending 50,000 tons of corn, but the North has not responded to the offer.Yonhap


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