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Humanitarian Groups Continue Assistance To North Korea Despite Sanctions, Report Says

“International humanitarian groups are continuing their assistance to North Korea despite sanctions imposed on the North for its nuclear test early this year, a report said Wednesday,” Yonhap News Agency reports. “North Korea was slapped with tougher U.N. sanctions earlier this year for conducting a satellite launch in December and a nuclear test in February, stoking concerns that the move may affect relief efforts there,” according to Yonhap, which adds, “The World Food Programme told Radio Free Asia earlier this week that a lack of donation has pushed it to scale down its food aid to North Korea by 85 percent,” and “[t]he U.N. food agency has halted operations in June at five of its 14 food factories in the North due to grain shortages” (7/17). “These sanctions risk tipping North Korea over the edge, especially if it is hit by further natural disasters, said Kim Hartzner, managing director of Mission East, a Danish provider of food aid to children that has operations in the country,” according to Reuters. “‘I am seriously concerned about the blockade. I’m seriously concerned about the consequences,’ Hartzner told Reuters late on Monday, adding that children, pregnant women and the elderly would suffer most from any disruptions to aid programs,” the news agency writes (Blanchard, 7/16).