World Food Program-DPRK aid plan announced

From the Seoul Times:

WFP’s governing Executive Board has approved a two-year plan to build on the agency’s ten-year record of humanitarian assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by tackling nutritional deficiencies and chronic hunger.

Valued at US$102 million and requiring 150,000 metric tons of commodities for 1.9 million North Koreans, the plan aims to provide vitamin-and-mineral enriched foods produced in-country to young children and women of child-bearing age, and cereal rations to underemployed communities to build and rehabilitate agricultural and other community assets.

Several members of the Executive Board expressed strong concerns about the restrictions on monitoring and access that the DPRK government has imposed. These include a reduction in the number of international staff from a peak of 46 to just 10, and a reduction in the number of monitoring visits from approximately 400 per month to a much more limited number.

“We now look to the government of the DPRK to agree to conditions that will allow us to do our work properly, for the sake of the people who need our help.” “If we cannot reach a suitable final agreement on our operating conditions, we will be forced to withdraw,” Morris told the Executive Board members.

Past WFP operations mobilised more than four million tonnes of commodities valued at US$1.7 billion, supported up to one-third of the population of 23 million, and contributed to a significant reduction in malnutrition rates.

While in years past WFP’s resources were spread across all accessible counties – 160 out of 203 for much of 2005 – the new operation envisages a more focused approach, with 80 percent of the food going to the 50 most vulnerable counties.


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