Lack of funding forces UN food agency to reduce operations in DPR Korea

1 July 2009

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it is being forced to scale back its emergency operation to reach six million hungry and vulnerable people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to a severe lack of funding.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it is being forced to scale back its emergency operation to reach six million hungry and vulnerable people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) due to a severe lack of funding.

At a press briefing in the Chinese capital, Beijing, today, the agency said that of the $504 million needed for the programme, only $75 million has been received so far.

Amir Abdulla, WFP Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, said that the agency is currently reviewing the terms and conditions under which the scheme is providing food to the hungry.

“We need to make sure that any terms agreed to do not compromise our accountability,” he said.

WFP’s spokesperson in DPRK, Lena Savelli, told UN Radio today that the agency will target its work in only 57 counties out of the 131 where it had originally planned to provide food aid.

“This will bring down the planned number of beneficiaries from 6.2 to 2.27 million,” she said, adding that at current levels, WFP has the resources needed to continue this level of operations until October or November.

A joint report by WFP and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) released last December estimated that nearly nine million people could be hungry due to a shortage in cereals in the DPRK in 2009.

Even with commercial imports, DPRK will face a cereal deficit of over 800,000 tons, according to the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission, the first such comprehensive mission conducted since 2004.

 

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