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U.N. excludes N. Korea from humanitarian aid plans for two straight years

Diplomacy 09:25 December 03, 2021

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- The United Nations has excluded North Korea from its global humanitarian assistance plan for 2022, its recent report showed, apparently due to the impoverished country's prolonged border lockdown against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Global Humanitarian Overview 2022 released by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, "Afghanistan, DPR Korea and Myanmar are facing acute food insecurity situations, which are likely to deteriorate further by the year's end."

But its response plans for the Asia-Pacific region only included those for Afghanistan and Myanmar. DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

It marked the second year in a row for the annual report to exclude North Korea from its assistance plans.

The decision comes as North Korea is maintaining a strict border lockdown to stave off the coronavirus, prompting international organization staff members necessary for on-site monitoring and assessment to leave the country.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization's December report on global crop prospects and food situation, North Korea was among 44 countries requiring external assistance for food, with a large portion of its population estimated to be suffering from low levels of food consumption.

"The persisting economic constraints, exacerbated by restrictive measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, have significantly reduced imports, including critical agricultural inputs and humanitarian goods, increasing the population's vulnerability to food insecurity," the quarterly report said.

This file photo, taken in the western border city of Paju on Oct. 24, 2021, shows a North Korean field in Kaepung. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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