• Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

UN World Food Program warns could suspend work in N Korea

  • Published at 03:32 pm February 23rd, 2021
North Korea UN
File Photo: Staff at a World Food Program factory in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea, prepare milk products for children for country-wide distribution, on April 2011 AFP

World Food Program said the North's self-imposed coronavirus isolation was posing new problems for relief work

Strict coronavirus restrictions imposed by North Korea could force the World Food Program to suspend operations in the country, where chronic malnutrition is rife, a report on the UN organization's website said on Tuesday.

The impoverished country -- which is under international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs -- has long struggled to feed itself, suffering chronic food shortages.

The World Food Program (WFP) has by far the largest international aid operation in the country and provides specialized foods to around a million pregnant women, nursing mothers and children every month, according to its website.

Sanctions have long complicated aid efforts, but the WFP said the North's self-imposed coronavirus isolation was posing new problems for relief work.

North Korea closed its borders in January last year -- the first country in the world to do so -- to protect itself against the virus which first broke out in neighbouring China.

"Food imports, international staff deployments and physical monitoring access remain curtailed for a prolonged period," the WFP said in a report outlining its plans.

"WFP will opportunistically use windows in which food imports are allowed to replenish and optimize in-country stocks," it added. 

"There is a significant residual risk that, should food imports not be possible, operations will cease in 2021."

Pyongyang has long insisted it has not seen any cases of Covid-19 -- which has killed more than two million people worldwide -- with its leader Kim Jong Un reiterating the claim at a huge military parade in October.

Experts suggest that is unlikely, given the virus first emerged in neighbouring China, its main provider of trade and aid.

More than 40% of North Korea's 25 million people are considered food insecure, according to UN estimates.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail