News / Asia

UN: N. Korea Aid Efforts 'Seriously Underfunded'

In this photo provided by the United Nation's World Food Program, a North Korean eat their lunch at a government run nursery in Pyongyang October 18, 2005.
In this photo provided by the United Nation's World Food Program, a North Korean eat their lunch at a government run nursery in Pyongyang October 18, 2005.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
The United Nations is calling for the international community to put aside political differences and boost funding to help address what it says are the dire humanitarian needs of North Koreans.

The U.N. said Tuesday that aid efforts in North Korea remain "seriously underfunded," even as it unveiled a funding request for an additional $198 million to respond to "key humanitarian priorities" in the impoverished communist state in 2012.

International donors provided just over a third of the $218 million the U.N. requested for North Korean aid in 2011. Because of the lack of funds, the international body said it was unable to effectively address the humanitarian needs there.


The U.N. described serious humanitarian conditions in North Korea in its report, saying 16 million people continue to suffer from chronic food insecurity, high malnutrition rates, and deep-rooted economic problems.

It said undernourished children are particularly at risk, with nearly a third of children under five showing signs of stunting and hundreds more dying from preventable conditions such as diarrhea.

U.N. Resident Coordinator Jerome Sauvage called on donors to separate political issues from humanitarian needs in North Korea, which has been under international sanctions because of its nuclear program.

"We think that humanitarian assistance should be not dependent on the ups and downs of the political situation," Sauvage said. "As we said, this [assistance] is going for the most vulnerable people, and certainly, if we see our funding going down for whatever reason, this is what is happening really to affect the population. We think that humanitarian aid should be separate from politics."

North Korea has suffered from chronic food shortages since a famine in the 1990s believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of people.  

The United States and North Korea reached an agreement in February under which the North had agreed to suspend its nuclear weapons and missile programs, in exchange for a delivery of 240,000 tons of badly needed food aid.

But Washington scrapped the deal after North Korea's failed rocket launch in April. Pyongyang said the launch was to place a weather satellite into orbit, but the Obama administration argued it was a test of a long-range ballistic missile that could carry warheads.  

Despite its political differences with North Korea, the U.S. has been the biggest single contributor of food aid to the communist state since the famine.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid