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WFP's April food provision to N. Korea marks smallest this year

North Korea 09:39 May 21, 2019

SEOUL, May 21 (Yonhap) -- A U.N. food agency has said that it provided 982 tons of food to North Korea in April, the smallest monthly provision in 2019 amid growing worries over worsening food shortages in the impoverished state.

The World Food Programme distributed the food to a total of 448,790 people across North Korea last month, according to the report posted on its website.

"That includes nutrition assistance for 6,310 children in boarding schools, 324,990 children in nurseries, 2,970 children in pediatric wards/hospitals, and 114,510 pregnant and breastfeeding women," the report said.

"WFP's nutritional support is focused on areas of the country where food and nutrition security are fragile, and reaches 60 counties across nine provinces every month," it added.

The April figure, however, was the lowest monthly provision of aid this year.

The amount was down 5.8 percent from 1,042 tons provided to North Korea in March and down 22 percent from the same month earlier this year. The WFP did not provide reasons for the decline.

The WFP said it needs $53.7 million to carry out assistance projects for North Korea this year, of which $29.8 million has been secured.

Earlier this month, the WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization reported, based on their visit to North Korea, that the country's crop output last year hit the lowest level since 2008, adding that an estimated 10 million people, or about 40 percent of its population, are in urgent need of food.

Last week, South Korea announced a plan to donate $8 million to international agencies, including the WFP, to help address malnutrition and health problems facing pregnant women and kids in the North.

Seoul is currently drawing up plans to provide humanitarian food assistance to ease food shortages in North Korea apparently aggravated by global sanctions and unfavorable weather conditions.


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