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AlertNet Footage Shows Scenes Of Food Shortages In North Korea, Says Appeals For Aid Go Unanswered

Footage of malnourished North Korean orphans and official warnings over failed harvests have given a rare glimpse at the scale of devastating food shortages in the country following a harsh winter and widespread flooding,” the Guardian reports. “The World Food Programme (WFP) … estimated in March that a quarter of the country’s 24 million inhabitants needed food aid and that a third of children were chronically malnourished” and “has warned it has only 30 percent of the funding it needs for its relief operation, which targets 3.5 million of North Korea’s most vulnerable citizens,” the newspaper writes.

“The Reuters AlertNet humanitarian news service, which shot the new video, was allowed to make a tightly controlled trip to South Hwanghae, a farming province in the country’s arable heartland,” the Guardian writes (Branigan, 10/6). According to AlertNet, the news service “saw evidence of alarming malnutrition and damaged crops, but also signs of some promise for the coming rice harvest. … The regime’s motive in granting the access appears to be to amplify its food-aid appeals.” So far, North Korea’s “appeals for massive food aid have gone mostly unanswered by a skeptical international community,” AlertNet writes, adding that “the U.N.’s emergency relief coordinator will visit this month to assess the situation” (Large, 10/6). According to the Guardian, “The United States and South Korea, the two biggest donors before sanctions, have said they won’t resume aid until they are satisfied the military-led communist regime won’t divert the aid for its own uses and progress is made on disarmament talks” (10/6).

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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.