US provides 100,000 dollar flood aid to North Korea

AFP
8/17/2007

The United States is providing 100,000 dollars in humanitarian aid to flood-stricken North Korea, the State Department said Friday.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) would provide 50,000 dollars each to two US non governmental organizations operating in North Korea — Mercy Corps and Samaritan’s Purse, department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

“The intention is that the money would be used to provide blankets, shelter materials, water containers and other supplies to those in need,” he told reporters.

Almost 300 people were dead or missing in the North Korean floods, according to an aid agency quoting official figures in the nuclear-armed hardline communist nation.

Official media in the reclusive state has painted a grim picture of inundated crops and homes, flooded factories and mines and washed-out roads.

UN agencies said on Friday that half of North Korea’s main health centres have been submerged by floods and warned that the situation in the country could deteriorate unless aid arrives rapidly.

The United States, together with China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, have promised to provide the North Koreans aid and security and diplomatic guarantees if it scraps its nuclear weapons program.

But any flood relief provided by the United States would not be linked to a planned gradual shipment of one million tonnes of fuel or its equivalent to North Korea if it completely dismantles its nuclear weapons program, McCormack had said.

North Korea has already got 50,000 tonnes of fuel aid for closure of its key nuclear reactor under the six-party nuclear talks.

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An affiliate of 38 North