Wednesday, March 30, 2011

International aid agencies appeal for food donations for North Korea

Aid agencies working in North Korea have issued a rare joint appeal for increased food donations, warning that millions of vulnerable citizens are living on a knife edge, according to The Guardian..

The groups, which include Save the Children and the Swiss government's relief agency, say bad weather and livestock disease have hampered domestic production, while high global food and fuel prices are making it harder to import supplies. They fear that unless aid is increased now, it will be too late to support people who are already chronically malnourished through the lean season that begins in May.

Their warning comes days after a United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) assessment found the country was "highly vulnerable to a food crisis", with more than 6 million people in urgent need of international food aid. Today's joint statement highlighted the needs of children and mothers, the elderly, disabled and sick and pointed to a need for healthcare, water and sanitation as well as food.

Andy Featherstone, the region's director of strategy for Save the Children, said: "We would hope [donors] would review decisions they have taken and be more generous in meeting the appeal [following the WFP assessment]."

Ireland's Concern Worldwide, Belgium's Handicap International and France's Triangle Generation Humanitaire also signed the statement.

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