'Clear evidence of humanitarian need' in North Korea: U.N. aid chief

'Clear evidence of humanitarian need' in North Korea: U.N. aid chief

By Josh Smith

 

2018-07-11T073439Z_1_LYNXMPEE6A0J4_RTROPTP_3_YEMEN-SECURITY.JPG

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files

 

SEOUL (Reuters) - There is "very clear evidence of humanitarian need" in North Korea, the top U.N. aid official has said during the first visit of its kind to the isolated country since 2011.

 

U.N. Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock arrived in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Monday.

 

He met Kim Yong Nam, the nominal head of state and president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, on Wednesday, the North's state media said.

 

Lowcock posted a video online outlining his observations after travelling to several areas in the southwest of the country.

 

"One of the things we've seen is very clear evidence of humanitarian need here," he said in the video, posted to his official Twitter account and the U.N. website.

 

"More than half the children in rural areas, including the places we've been, have no clean water, contaminated water sources."

 

Although humanitarian supplies or operations are exempt under U.N. Security Council resolutions, U.N. officials have warned that international sanctions over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes are exacerbating humanitarian problems by slowing aid deliveries.

 

About 20 percent of children in North Korea suffer from malnutrition, highlighting the need for more funding for humanitarian aid, Lowcock said.

 

Access for humanitarian workers was improving, he said without elaborating, but he noted that funding was falling short.

 

The United Nations says it had to stop nutrition support for kindergartens in North Korea in November because of a lack of funds, and its "2018 Needs and Priorities Plan" for North Korea is 90 percent underfunded.

 

While visiting a hospital that is not supported by the United Nations, Lowcock said there were 140 tuberculosis patients but only enough drugs to treat 40 of them.

 

More than 10 million people, some 40 percent of the population of North Korea, need humanitarian assistance, the United Nations said in a statement.

 

Lowcock was also due to meet humanitarian agency representatives and people receiving assistance to get a better understanding of the humanitarian situation, the United Nations said.

 

(Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Robert Birsel)

 
reuters_logo.jpg
-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-07-11
latest news from World

Ikea store in Italy draws praise for opening its doors to stray dogsDerek Wong Animal lovers have taken to social media to praise an Ikea store in Italy for opening its doors to stray dogs, with many posts showing the canines happily lounging among furniture displays. Ms Martine Taccia posted a...

READ MORE...

'One big party': Ex-tech boss jailed for fraud after 'living the high life'By Georgina Mitchell Jailed: John Falconer, pictured in Thailand in 2013. A businessman who fled to Thailand while he was being investigated by ASIC has been sentenced to at least three years behind bars for fraud, after he...

READ MORE...

New Salvadoran migrant caravan forms; hundreds wait at U.S.-Mexico borderBy Nelson Renteria  People walk in a caravan of migrants departing from El Salvador en route to the United States, in San Salvador, El Salvador, November 18, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - At least 150...

READ MORE...

Grim search for 1,276 missing after deadliest California wildfireBy Terray Sylvester NASA's Operational Land Imager satellite image shows the Camp Fire burning at around 10:45 a.m. local time near Paradise, California. Courtesy NASA/via REUTERS PARADISE, Calif. (Reuters) - Authorities sifted...

READ MORE...
sponsors