The European Commission announced that it would provide 10 million euros ($14.50 million) of food aid to North Korea despite South Korean opposition and US doubts as to the veracity of Pyongyang's calls for help.
The European Commission said it was convinced that the North's pleas for help were genuine after a team of experts reported seeing in June severely malnourished children in hospitals and nurseries where no treatment was available.
"The purpose of this aid package is to save the lives of at least 650,000 people who could otherwise die from lack of food," European Union Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said.
The EU's decision comes as Washington also weighs resuming food aid to the North, after suspending its shipments in 2008 in a monitoring row.
Analysts said any resumption of US aid would annoy Seoul, which stands firmly against sending food to its neighbor.