Tuesday, June 17, 2008

UN food inspectors granted access to North Korea

Staff from the UN World Food Program (WFP) have been given rare access to the North Korean countryside to assess the country's food shortages. The visit is a condition for an American donation of 500,000 tonnes of grain.

North Korea is estimated to have a shortfall of 1.6 million tonnes of grain because of last year's flood-affected harvest, but a true picture of the scale of the crisis is very difficult to determine. There are anecdotal reports from a South Korean aid organisation with access to the North that people are already beginning to die of hunger.

But the South Korean Government has suggested that the situation is not yet critical.

Some observers warn that Pyongyang may have an interest in exaggerating its food shortages to win international aid, some of which it uses to feed its military.


No comments: