United Nations agencies may soon be forced to suspend their programs in North Korea if they do not urgently receive $29.4 million in funding for critical food and health assistance needed for the rest of the year.
Efforts to address humanitarian needs in North Korea remain seriously underfunded as the agencies stressed that so far they have only received 27 percent of the $147 million requested to finance their operations.
Of the total amount, the lion’s share or $20 million would go to WFP, which has recently been forced to suspend production of fortified cereal and biscuits as well as reduce rations and cut distribution of critical food aid to young children in the western part of the country. The agency currently feeds about 1.6 million children and nursing mothers in North Korea.
“External assistance continues to play a vital role in safeguarding and promoting the well-being of millions whose food security, nutritional status and general health would otherwise be seriously compromised,” the agencies added.
Although the international sanctions against the North Korean regime exclude humanitarian aid, they have triggered a “negative impact on the levels of humanitarian funding” that is severely impacting efforts to feed the people, the statement said.
As associate editor for breaking news, Carlos Santamaria supervises Devex's Manila-based news team and the creation of our daily newsletter. Carlos joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.