Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Amir Abdulla, of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) today said that the agency’s emergency operation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) - which aims to assist 6.2 million vulnerable and hungry people - is grossly under-funded.
WFP has received $75 million and would require $504 to reach all the hungry in the DPRK. Accordingly, WFP is scaling back its operation as announced at a press briefing in Beijing this morning.
Your assistance is urgently needed to help WFP continue to feed the people of North Korea living with hunger and poverty. Though the figures needed by WFP may seem discouraging, you CAN make a difference. With just $50, WFP can feed a child in school for a year; $100 can buy a stove for a school, helping to feed a class of students for years to come; and $250 can provide a cup of nutritious food to 1,000 people.
Thank you for your continued generosity. Your support provides not only life-saving food assistance, but also hope to those living in hunger.
Since its independence from Japan in 1945, North Korea has existed as one of the most despotic, closed economies on the globe. Energy shortages, its limited arable land, and a lack of agricultural machinery have coupled with its persistent economic problems to consistently prevent the achievement of food security for the North Korean population.
With the signing of a Letter of Understanding by the North Korean government in June 2008, up to 59 aid workers are now allowed into the nation to oversee the delivery of food, geographical access has been expanded, and humanitarian agencies have more flexibility in monitoring than ever before. In a nation so closed, where 33 percent of the population is undernourished, the necessity of WFP programs is apparent.
Between 1995 and 2005, WFP operations secured over 4 million tons of commodities, directly benefiting one third of the population, but because of funding shortfalls, WFP operations in North Korea are currently at only 15 percent of planned levels.
North Korea is just entering the lean season, the five-month period prior to the November rice and maize harvests when stocks from last year quickly diminish, and expanded WFP assistance is vital. It is generous individuals like you that make further outreach possible. Thank you for your support!
"[The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] will face a severe food situation over the coming months," said Henri Josserand, Chief of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Global Information and Early Warning System. "Despite good weather and hard work by farmers and many city dwellers, they could not overcome critical shortages of fertilizer and fuel. The prospects for next year are bleak.”
A combined study by the FAO and the World Food Program (WFP) indicates that around 40 percent of the population in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), an estimated 8.7 million people, mostly young children, pregnant and nursing women and the elderly, will urgently need food assistance in the coming months.
"The findings of the mission confirm WFP's fears that millions of DPRK households will suffer through yet another year of food shortages," said Torben Due, WFP DPRK Representative in a statement from Pyongyang. "With such a large food gap, accessing enough food and a balanced diet will be almost impossible, particularly for families living in urban areas or in the remote food-deficit provinces in the Northeast. This could have grave consequences for the health of the most vulnerable groups."
Many people have been suffering from little or no reliable access to food for many years now. Thirty-three percent of the total population is undernourished and almost one fourth of children under age five are underweight. Economic problems, limited arable land, lack of agricultural machinery, and energy shortages also hinder families from producing their own food, forcing them to rely on WFP for survival.
WFP has played a central role in mobilizing and delivering food assistance to millions of the DPRK’s hungriest people, saving countless lives and helping to achieve significant reductions in malnutrition rates. In order to help the most vulnerable populations, WFP distributes vitamin-and-mineral enriched foods produced at WFP-supported factories to young children and pregnant and nursing women, and cereal rations to underemployed workers through Food For Community Development schemes aimed at improving food security and mitigating natural disasters.
Almost half of the population in the DPRK will rely on WFP in the coming months for food critical to their survival. WFP’s operations still require considerable financial assistance to adequately serve those in need. It is caring individuals like you who make their hope for survival possible. Thank you.
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