Children still suffering in large numbers
A group of United Nations agencies is seeking U.S. $221 million in international aid for North Korea to address food and health care shortages that a U.N. spokesman described as a �chronic emergency� without an end in sight, RFA�s Korean service reports.
The Rome-based WFP is asking for U.S. $192 million; UNICEF U.S. $12.7 million; the World Health Organization U.S. $7 million; the Food and Agriculture Organization U.S. $3 million; and the U.N. Population Fund U.S. $672,000.
�It's a continuation of a chronic emergency� without a clear end in sight,� he said. �By all measures, the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] remains a country in need of massive humanitarian support.�
North Korea has received about 8 million tons of food aid since 1995, when the secretive Stalinist regime revealed that its state farm industry had collapsed from decades of mismanagement and the loss of Soviet subsidies.
Spokesmen for several U.N. agencies cited improvements over the last several years in crop production and rates of child malnutrition.
Critics complain that sending any aid to North Korea props up the regime and feeds mainly the military, which comprises 1.14 million people.