With the low level of food stocks in North
Korea severely limiting WFP's operations, the agency has welcomed the Secretary-General's
call for more humanitarian aid for North Korea.
In recent months, a slump in funding has forced WFP to cut the number of people receiving its food aid by half
- from three million to six million.
WFP's emergency operation requires 40,000 tonnes of provisions per month, but to date, the agency has received less than a quarter of that figure.
The next food aid ship - 48,000 metric tons of Chinese grain donated by the European Community - will not set sail until February 15.
The voyage to North Korea lasts two weeks.
After a further 23,000 tonne pledge from the EC and 100,000 tonnes from Italy, there are no more donations in the North Korean pipeline.
The shortfalls have come at the worst possible time for North Koreans - the middle of the harsh winter season when temperatures can plunge to minus 30 degrees Celsius.
WFP launched a new appeal at the start of the year for US$201 million to provide 521,000 metric tons of food aid to 6.4 million people over the next 12 months.
This is a summary of what was said by WFP spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume - to whom quoted text may be attributed - at the press briefing, on 4 February 2003, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
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