16M North Koreans suffer from food insecurity – UN

The United Nations has released a new document detailing the humanitarian needs of people in North Korea.

The Overview Funding Document, presented before donors in Pyongyang and Beijing June 7 and 12, aims to make the case for the United Nations’ $198 million 2012 appeal for North Korea. It highlights the Asian nation’s problems of food insecurity, malnutrition and poor health care.

The bulk of the money will be allocated to food, a major need in North Korea. Some 16 million North Koreans, according to the document, depend on the government’s public distribution system. The twice-a-month food rations consist of barley, maize or, if lucky, rice, U.N. resident coordinator for North Korea Jerome Sauvage told The Associated Press.

Other sectors covered in the funding document include agriculture, health, water and sanitation.

As of May 1, the United Nations has received $74.9 million in contributions or 37.8 percent of the total appeal. The money will go to fund activities of five U.N. agencies: U.N. Food and Agriculture OrganizationWorld Health OrganizationU.N. Population FundWorld Food Program and UNICEF.

While the needs are high, it remains to be seen how donors will respond to the appeal. In April, the United States suspended its planned food aid to Pyongyang following the latter’s satellite launch attempt.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.