Severe food shortages in N Korea: Aid groups

Last Updated 03 May 2018, 06:05 IST

The five agencies made a joint appeal for international assistance to feed the most vulnerable populations in North Korea, where hundreds of thousands of people died in a famine in the 1990s.

"The team observed evidence of malnutrition, food shortages and people foraging for wild grasses and herbs," said a joint statement by the groups yesterday.

"These trends are particularly prevalent among families that depend on the North Korea public food distribution system, and most severely impact children, the elderly, the chronically ill and pregnant and nursing mothers," it said.

The five groups are Christian Friends of Korea, Global Resource Services, Mercy Corps, Samaritan's Purse and World Vision, which all have experience working in the politically isolated nation.

A team of seven experts from the groups visited North Korea earlier this month at the request of the government, they said.

Quoting North Korean authorities, the groups said that 50 to 80 per cent of key crops such as wheat and barley planted for harvest in the spring had died because of the cold.

"In addition, rising global food prices have reportedly made it difficult for (North Korea) to import sufficient food supplies," they said.

North Korea's relations with the United States and its allies reached crisis point last year after the communist state shelled a civilian area of South Korea and was blamed for torpedoing a warship from its rival neighbour.

(Published 24 February 2011, 03:50 IST)

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