Warning of looming hunger in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today called on the international community to step up donations for its emergency operation inthe country.
The agency said its efforts to assist 6.4 million people could face disruption without fresh pledges. “The people we feed, the most vulnerable in the DPRK, will experience a major food crisis from mid-year if we are not promised additional contributions now,” said John Powell, WFP’s Regional Director for Asia.
In order to fully implement its 2002 programme, which primarily targets children, pregnant and nursing women, and the elderly, the agency will need an additional 368,000 tons of cereals and other commodities. Mr. Powell warned that even immediate promises of funding would not bring immediate relief. “Once a pledge is made,
it takes two to four months to get that food into the stomach of a hungry child,” he said.
The agency’s emergency operation aims to save lives by preventing food shortages from developing into famine conditions, improve the nutritional status of young children and other vulnerable groups, and support agricultural recovery through food-for-work projects.