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N.K. diverts U.N. food aid to other uses: defectors' group

All Headlines 18:01 June 24, 2016

SEOUL, June 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has been diverting U.N. food aid for its infants to other uses, a group of defectors from the communist state claimed Friday, stressing the need for stronger oversight over the humanitarian aid program.

The North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity said that North Korean officials have taken away powedered milk and other items for infants and toddlers, and provided them to ranking military and party officials, who then sold them on the black markets for profit.

"Many packs of flour and milk powder, which the United Nations has provided for North Korean infants, have been circulating on the market," the group said, quoting an anonymous North Korean source.

"In the presence of outside monitoring staff, North Korean officials pretend to distribute food aid to infants as planned, but later they take it away," the source was quoted by the group as saying.

The source also pointed out that "U.N. snacks" have been sold on markets in Pyongyang and Hamheung, South Hamgeyong Province, as well as other locations.

The U.N. has allocated US$8 million in humanitarian aid to the North, which has been designated one of the nine countries in the world that need emergency funding to cope with humanitarian crises, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported earlier this month.

The U.N.'s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) provided the fund to the impoverished state.

According to the RFA report, the emergency U.N. funds will be used for a nutritional assistance project for some 1.8 million North Korean children and pregnant women who suffer from malnutrition.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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