Sunday, July 23, 2006

UN ready to help North Korean flood victims

The United Nations World Food Program is willing to help the victims of widespread flooding in North Korea but wants to thoroughly assess the damage and monitor the aid it gives, a WFP official said.

Two major storms over the past two weeks have drenched the impoverished North with some of its heaviest rains in years, severely damaging crops and raising the possibility of famine in a country that already battles chronic food shortages.

WFP officials are on the ground in North Korea, but the North so far has granted them access only to one county that experienced damage, Banbury said.

As a condition for aid, the WFP wants to conduct a full assessment of damage to find out North Korea's needs and then monitor the aid to make sure it gets to the people who need it most, he said. Aid workers say this monitoring is aimed at ensuring the aid goes to the needy and does not end up in the hands of North Korea's powerful military.

[Excerpt of an article by Jon Herskovitz, Reuters]

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