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Aid Agencies, U.N. Assessing Humanitarian, Medical Needs Of North Korea After Widespread Flooding

“North Koreans hit by recent deadly floods badly need drinking water, food and medical assistance, an aid group said Wednesday after official media had reported 88 dead and nearly 63,000 homeless,” Agence France-Presse reports. A spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said a team from the organization visited the provinces of South and North Pyongan in the west of the country to assess damage, the news agency notes (8/1). In another article, AFP notes that the U.N. also is sending a team to assess the damage and humanitarian needs of the worst affected areas (7/31). “Even before the latest flooding, a dysfunctional food distribution system, rapid inflation and international sanctions over Pyongyang’s weapons programs have created what is thought to be widespread hunger,” Reuters writes (Park/Blanchard, 7/30). “Following an inspection visit last autumn, U.N. agencies estimated that three million people would need food aid this year even before the deluge,” according to AFP.

The U.S. in February reached a deal with North Korea to offer 240,000 tons of food in exchange for the country halting nuclear and missile tests, but “the plan was scrapped after Pyongyang’s failed rocket launch in April, seen by the U.S. and its allies as an attempted ballistic missile test,” AFP notes (8/1). “A U.S. State Department spokesperson said that Washington continues to be concerned about the North Korean people, but has no plans to make its own assessment of the impact of the floods,” VOA News writes, adding, “She said the United States does not link the provision of humanitarian assistance to political or security issues” (7/31).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.