Wednesday, August 09, 2006

UNICEF has difficulty raising funds for North Korea

The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) is having difficulties raising funds for North Korea as international donors have been "shying away" due to the nuclear development program and missile tests by the communist state, an official at the international relief agency for children has said.

In a program of the Washington-based Radio Free Asia monitored here, Richard Bridle, deputy director of UNICEF's Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific, said UNICEF has raised less than 10 percent of its annual target for North Korea so far this year.

"Our fundraising this year has not been good," Bridle said. "Other donors have been shying away because of political developments. It's a pity, I think, because humanitarian principals call for us not to mix politics with humanitarian needs."

Bridle, who was a representative of the UNICEF office in Pyongyang from 2001 to 2003, visited the North three weeks ago, according to the report. Bridle was concerned notably about its operation of supplying clean water for 150,000 people affected by the situation after the North's water was contaminated by the flood.

UNICEF has allocated its budget for improving prenatal health, nutrition, environment and education in the North. The North's children, who suffer from malnutrition, are smaller by about 10-15 centimeters than their counterparts in the South, according to the Unification Ministry in Seoul.

[Yonhap News]

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