U.N. Calls On International Community To Provide Food Aid To North Korea

“Wealthier countries need to put aside politics to help millions of North Koreans going hungry from food shortages, the U.N.’s top relief official said Friday, renewing an appeal for assistance that has largely gone unmet,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports. Following a five-day visit to North Korea, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos “said millions of North Koreans, particularly children, mothers and pregnant women, need help,” as they do not have access to protein- and nutrient-rich foods, according to the AP.

“While she acknowledged concerns about whether the authoritarian government diverts food aid or underfunds agriculture,” issues she said she raised with officials while in North Korea, “Amos urged donor countries to put the needs of North Koreans ahead of other considerations,” the AP writes. According to the news agency, “Washington approved $900,000 in emergency flood aid in August but has held back on approving food aid in part because Pyongyang is funding a nuclear program, reneging on nuclear disarmament pledges” (10/21). Meanwhile, during a briefing at the U.N., Marzuki Darusman, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, said the nation’s inadequate medical infrastructure “severely compromised” its ability to deal with “potential large-scale health problems,” according to the U.N. News Centre (10/20).