Clear evidence of need in N.Korea, says UN

14 Juillet, 2018, 12:42 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • North Korea's Minister of Health Jang Jun Sang meets with UN's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Lowcork in Pyongyang

It was the first visit to North Korea by an emergency relief coordinator since 2011.

"There are though large numbers of people who still need assistance; there is a significant problem of malnutrition with something like 20 per cent of children stunted because of malnutrition which impairs their life chances", he said.

Lowcock said the DPRK would receive a 110 million-U.S. -dollar assistance package through donations by United Nations member countries. Only 10 percent has been raised so far, Lowrock said, through donations from the Swedish, Swiss and Canadian governments.

It said it had to stop nutrition support for kindergartens in North Korea in November because of a lack of funds, while its "2018 Needs and Priorities Plan" in the country is 90% underfunded.

"One of the things we've seen is very clear evidence of humanitarian need here", he said.

"The North Korean authority tends to exaggerate the food problem, because they are interested in getting as much food aid as possible", he said.

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The North Koreans reportedly said "it is completely consistent to have a strategy of developing the economy and being self-reliant, and in the meantime seeking assistance with life-saving work". "Something like 20 percent of the children in the country have malnutrition". "My focus is on the humanitarian issues and the core humanitarian issues are around malnutrition, better water and sanitation, and more life-saving drugs and other medical supplies in hospitals like the ones I visited".

WFP director David Beasley, too, said after a visit to the North in May that his organization had "greater monitoring and greater access than any time period that I'm familiar with".

Access for humanitarian workers was improving, he said without elaborating, but he noted that funding was falling short.

Lowcock's visit was the first to the DPRK by a United Nations undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator in seven years.

Lowcock and his team are expected to leave Pyongyang on Thursday.

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