Sanctions badly affect most needy in North Korea: UN report

March 24, 2017 2:22 pm

In this May 20,
2013 photo, North Korean nurses and representatives from foreign
humanitarian agencies are seen during a and North Korean government
program to give vitamin supplements to children at a school in
Pyongyang. (Photo by AP)

The has warned
that sanctions against are taking a serious toll on
humanitarian aid activities in the country, where millions of women and
children are reliant on donations.

A report by Tapan
Mishra, the UN’s senior resident official in Pyongyang, says the bans
slapped on the North over its nuclear and missile activities are causing
a “radical decline” in donations among the needy in the Asian state.
Such
donations, the report said, are badly needed by “18 million people, or
70 percent of the population, including 1.3 million children under
five.”
North has been the target of a broad array of tough
sanctions by the US and the UN Security Council over its nuclear and
missile tests.
Pyongyang says its missile and nuclear program
is part of its self-defense measures aimed at protecting the North’s
sovereignty and safety in the face of threats by the US and South Korea.
Mishra,
who coordinates UN development program and other activities in the
country, said North Korea is in the midst of “a protracted, entrenched
humanitarian situation largely forgotten or overlooked by the rest of
the world.”
The report said “chronic food insecurity, early
childhood malnutrition and nutrition insecurity” continue to be
widespread in North Korea.
The sanctions, it said, also have a
psychological impact on the donors, making them reluctant to provide
funds for projects in the country.

Residents
receive emergency goods, including kitchen sets and blankets,
distributed by North Korean Red Cross officials in Pyongyang Province.
(Photo by AP)

“This is reflected in
the radical decline in donor funding since 2012,” it said. “As a result,
agencies have been forced to significantly reduce the assistance they
provide ,” it added.

Forty-one percent of the
population in North Korea or two in five people are undernourished,
while 70 percent depend on the Public Distribution System (PDS) for
rations, according to the report.
With international sanctions in
effect, health service delivery remains inadequate with many areas not
equipped with sufficient facilities, equipment or medicines to meet
people’s basic health needs, it added.
On Monday, Reuters quoted a
US official as saying that Washington was considering more sweeping
sanctions as part of a broad review of measures against North Korea.
Reacting
to the report, a senior North Korean diplomat at the UN, said his
country has no fear of tighter US bans and is determined to pursue the
“acceleration” of its nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea is
irked by joint wargames held annually by the US and South Korea on the
volatile Korean Peninsula, saying the drills are practices for a war on
the country.
Washington has recently angered Pyongyang by starting
the installation of an advanced missile system at an air base in South
Korea.

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