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U.N. agency lacking in humanitarian budget for N. Korea

All Headlines 11:00 November 11, 2017

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- A United Nations agency in charge of reducing humanitarian suffering has secured only 30 percent of its annual budget for humanitarian aid projects in North Korea this year, a broadcaster reported on Saturday.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) said the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) aimed to raise US$113.5 million in 2017 to support various humanitarian activities in North Korea but has so far secured only US$33.9 million.

OCHA's budget shortage is serious as the secured amount represents only about 30 percent of the target, RFA said, citing an OCHA report.

This file photo taken on May 24, 2017, shows officials of a Seoul humanitarian aid group examining supplies bound for North Korea. (Yonhap)

This year, U.N. bodies like the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the World Food Programme, and seven countries -- Switzerland, Russia, Canada, Sweden, the United States, France and Liechtenstein -- participated in the North Korea-related humanitarian aid projects, according to the OCHA report.

Of them, CERF accounted for $12.3 million, or 36.4 percent, of the secured amount, while Switzerland donated $5 million, or 14.8 percent, it noted.

The RFA report said about $29.6 million, or 78.6 percent, of the international community's humanitarian aid for North Korea in the first 10 months of this year was spent on the provision of food and nutritional support products. In addition, $4.4 million was spent on improving the North's health services and another $1.5 million was delivered to help improve its drinking water.

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