Millions of North Koreans depend on food aid—UN


SEOUL—Millions of people remain dependent on external food aid in North Korea where nearly 28 percent of children under five are stunted from malnutrition, a UN official has said.

Desiree Jongsma, UN resident coordinator in North Korea, said two thirds of its 24 million population were chronically food insecure although timely imports had contributed to avoiding a crisis this year.

“Although the overall humanitarian situation has improved slightly over the last 12 months, the structural causes of people’s vulnerability persist”, she said Friday.

According to a 2012 UN national nutrition survey, nearly 28 percent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition and four percent are acutely malnourished.

Anaemia and under-nutrition are one of the major causes of maternal and child mortality, the survey said.

North Korea’s health care services and supplies are unable to meet basic needs, its infrastructure including water and heating systems need repair as education facilities are also “rapidly deteriorating”, Jongsma said.

UN agencies continue to assist those most vulnerable but they remain “seriously underfunded”, rendering them unable to address all humanitarian needs, she said.

In 2013, a total of $147 million is needed, of which only 27.8 percent has been received so far, she said.

UN agencies said in November that overall production for the main 2012 harvest and 2013 early season crops was expected to be 5.8 million tonnes, up 10 percent on 2011-2012.

But the poverty-stricken country was still struggling to eradicate malnutrition and provide its people with vital protein, the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme said.

North Korea has suffered regular chronic food shortages under the Kim dynasty, with the situation exacerbated by floods, droughts and mismanagement. During a famine in the mid to late-1990s, hundreds of thousands died.

International food aid, especially that from South Korea and the United States, has been drastically cut over the past several years amid tensions over the communist state’s nuclear and missile programs.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • DMS

    they can always eat their nuclear weapons!

  • Horst Manure

    The people don’t have any saw in running the Democratic republic which is run by the world biggest user of Cognac.

    • tarikan

      Hindi mo napapansin pag KUMUNISTA or DICTATORship hilig magpangalan ng gobyerno nila as DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC? And they are very far from being democratic. Mahusay talaga mga commie sa pagkunwari.

  • Manuel_II

    N.Koreans didn’t know where the food came from in the first place, only the First class citizen have access to the UN food, the rest have to buy them in the black market.

    As far as the N.Koreans are concern, the food came from their Great Leader.

  • mavtan

    Yet they have the worlds biggest fat-ass ego maniac for a leader.

  • anu12345

    That’s why they always make noise. To be noticed.

  • tarikan

    NoKor is starving and still they have the stomach to threaten those who are giving food aid? They just recently said they are ready to rain bullets on those who they perceived are their enemies. Mga hinayu…PAK na mga taong ito walang mga kaluluwa. Bakit ba hindi na laang hayaan mamatay sa gutom? Pati kamay ng nagbibigay ibig sakmalin. Dapat mawala sa mundo mga klaseng tao na ito.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    wont need nukes they are wiping themselves out. i read that they are 2 or 3 inches shorter than the south koreans and weigh about 20 pounds less

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