Escalating tensions bring the ethical quandaries of dealing with Pyongyang to the fore
After a year of nuclear threats, fiery brinksmanship, and retaliatory sanctions, the global aid sector is at a crossroads with North Korea.
There’s a question mark hovering over the immediate future of aid delivery as food assistance – once a symbolic thread of engagement with North Korea – has become wrapped up in red tape and is starting to weigh heavily on weary donors.
The bluster and belligerence between Washington and Pyongyang hide a humanitarian conundrum that must be solved
It has been a blisteringly hot summer for North Korea on two fronts. The world has watched it successfully test its intercontinental ballistic missile technology and its first hydrogen bomb, drawing widespread condemnation from the international community. But at the same time – and with far less fanfare – the country has endured one of its driest summers to date.
31 March 2017
The long winter is ending in North Korea, and another season of bombast is about to begin.
From April to September, a series of holidays will almost inevitably be accompanied by bellicose statements – rhetoric likely to heighten tensions and make donors extra-jittery about funding humanitarian programmes that a great many North Koreans depend upon for their survival.
By Jared Ferrie
Massive flooding in North Korea has killed at least 138 people and washed out roads, making it impossible for relief workers to reach thousands of victims. In addition to physical barriers to delivering aid, the crisis highlights the difficulties agencies face in a country subject to authoritarian rule, as well as international sanctions.
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YANGON, 13 August 2015 (IRIN) - Health, nutrition and sanitation conditions have deteriorated for citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to “a long period of abnormally dry weather,” according to the UN’s emergency aid coordination body OCHA. In a report released Wednesday, OCHA warned that a continued lack of rainfall will have a severe impact on the autumn harvest – and on the country’s people, many of whom already experience chronic hunger.
CHIANG SAEN, 9 August 2011 (IRIN) - Thailand is fast becoming a transit country for North Koreans fleeing severe food shortages and poverty, authorities say.
Thousands now make their way along the more than 5,000km, often-dangerous route, through China and Laos to the kingdom en route to South Korea.
Since 2004, when just 46 North Korean asylum seekers were reported by Thailand's Immigration Bureau, the numbers have jumped to nearly 2,500 in 2010.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 9 February2007 (IRIN) - The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has suggested major reforms in the way food aid is managed and distributed in its annual report.
"In many cases, food aid is used because it is the only available resource, not because it is the best solution to the problem at hand.