South Korea Rules Out Reports of Sending Food Aid to the North

The Chief of the Unification Ministry of South Korea on Thursday (Nov. 17) dismissed reports the country had planned on sending baby formula and packs of baby food to flood-hit North Korea.

“We are giving humanitarian assistance to the North, but excluding food aid,” Yu Woo-ik said.

In a report from the Yonhap News Agency, according to an official from the Unification Ministry, who asked not to be identified, the South planned on sending food aid to the North but dropped the idea after the latter refused to accept the offer.

Experts said food shortages in the North have worsened since the floods. Surviving families in rural areas in the North thrive on maize and vegetables for their meals as thousands of hectares of farmlands have been destroyed and grain rations from the government distribution system went down to only 200 grams a day.

Appeals made in August for 6,000 families have only generated enough resources for a month for the most vulnerable.

“Our assessment team was incredibly rigorous in identifying the most vulnerable among the vulnerable and we very much hope to be able at least to support these people,” Igor Dmitryuk said. He is the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Head of Delegation in North Korea.

The World Food Program warned that if the targeted assistance is not met, more children will slip into acute stages of malnutrition in the North.

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About the author

  • 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.