Tuesday, January 31, 2006

World Food Program to resume North Korea aid?

On January 1, North Korea halted the World Food Program (WFP) which had been feeding a third of North Korea's 22 million people. The World Food agency closed its five offices outside Pyongyang and shut down its 19 food factories in the North.

The impoverished North has relied on foreign donations for a decade to feed its people. Observers suggest that demanding the withdrawal of the WFP was a political strategy on North Korea’s part to regain control over its food distribution network.

Some possible good news, at least for the starving, as reported by Pravda:
The World Food Program is working on plans to resume food aid to North Korea, but to a much smaller number of people.
The new plan would include economic development assistance while also feeding pregnant women, children and others, said Gerald Bourke, a WFP spokesman in Beijing. He said staff members in Pyongyang were working on the details, including how many people would be fed. The proposal is to be presented to the United States, Japan and other donors for approval at a meeting in February, Bourke said. He said the earliest that it could take effect would be March.

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