Millions Suffer Chronic Food Shortages In North Korea, U.N. Report Says
“Millions of North Koreans suffer chronic food shortages and … there are no immediate signs of reforms to spur economic growth, the United Nations says” in a report released Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports (6/12). “The U.N. described serious humanitarian conditions in North Korea in its report, saying 16 million people continue to suffer from chronic food insecurity, high malnutrition rates, and deep-rooted economic problems,” VOA News writes, adding that the U.N. “is calling for the international community to put aside political differences and boost funding to help address what it says are the dire humanitarian needs of North Koreans” (6/12).
“Nearly a third of children under five show signs of stunting, particularly in rural areas where food is scarce, and chronic diarrhea due to a lack of clean water, sanitation and electricity has become the leading cause of death among children, the agency said,” according to the Associated Press/Guardian, which adds, “Hospitals are spotless but bare; few have running water or power, and drugs and medicine are in short supply” (6/12). Jerome Sauvage, U.N. resident coordinator in Pyongyang, “said the United Nations was seeking $198 million in funding for its mostly humanitarian assistance projects this year, mainly to address food and health needs,” Reuters writes, noting the U.S. “said in April it would not go forward with planned food aid to North Korea, after the impoverished nation’s unsuccessful launch of a long-range missile which Washington had warned would have consequences” (Blanchard, 6/12).