Wednesday, July 16, 2008

North Korea allows UNICEF access to isolated provinces

For the first time in two years, UN humanitarian agencies have been granted access to two isolated provinces in North Korea. These areas have been off-limits to international aid agencies since the end of 2006.

UNICEF spokeswoman, Veronique Taveau, [explains] "We know that the situation in those two provinces for children is quite bad, so that is why it is very important for us to go there to be able to reach the most vulnerable children and to assess the situation."

During the next 11 days, Taveau says the 10-member team will visit hospitals, health facilities and institutions for children in county towns and villages. She says the experts will finalize arrangements to train doctors and caregivers in the treatment of malnutrition and monitor the use of supplies.

Taveau says surveys conducted a few years ago indicate high levels of malnutrition among children. "What we know is that 37 percent of children below the age of five are already malnourished and that is a very, very high number," she added. "What we also know is that mortality rates for children, for babies in North Korea is 55 for 1,000 births. So, it is really a very high rate. So, that is why we are very worried and concerned about the situation."

[Excerpt of article by Lisa Schlein, VOA]

No comments: