The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $6.3 million for emergency drought relief in North Korea, including supplementary food rations and treatments for waterborne diseases, according to a recent press release.
The funds will be divided between three different UN agencies, UNICEF, the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The availability of CERF funds allows us to kick-start life-saving response to communities affected by drought,” UN DPRK Resident Coordinator Tapan Mishra said in the press release.
“The critical funds will help reduce incidence of diarrhea and other non-communicable diseases, caused by a lack of access to safe water. The funds will also be used to combat malnutrition exacerbated by a lack of access to food, water and the increase incidence of waterborne diseases,” he said.
The distribution of funds is targeted at those most likely to be affected by the drought, and will be “rapid.”
“$3 million of this CERF relief funding will go to WFP. It will be utilized immediately in the most severely drought affected provinces – to provide nutritional support to children under 5, along with pregnant and breast feeding women,” WFP press office Damian Kean told NK News.
CERF cited weather data and field assessment missions taking place earlier in the year, North Koreans in several provinces exhibited the most serious cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) ever observed by the reporting team.
According to the press release, the money will be help 1.3 million people in the four most affected DPRK provinces.
North Korea has been criticized in the past for a lack of transparency in how it distributes aid, however the WFP claim this will not be an issue in this case.
“As in other countries, WFP monitors all distributions in DPRK to ensure that food assistance reaches intended recipients. WFP has a policy of not distributing food in areas to which it has no access,” Kean added.
The additional funds follow an earlier $2 million allocation to the DPRK, bringing the total to over $8 million so far this year. Despite the increases, North Korea only received 36 percent of required funding.
“Additional funding sources continue to be urgently required as humanitarian operations in DPR Korea remain underfunded,” Mishra said.
Seok Hyun-duk, a researcher at the Korea Rural Economic Institute agreed with the assessment.
“The budget may be limited to support them entirely. Actually, $6.3 million is not enough, but it is possible to partly recover the situation. People can think this is a small amount of money to resolve this problem effectively, but $6.3 million is not that easy to collect”.
Earlier this month North Korean media reported that rain fall levels had picked up. Storms in early August caused a severe flood in South Hwanghae and South and North Hamgyong Provinces, according an article last week from the Korean Central News Agency.
Additional reporting: Hyunbi Park
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 471 words of this article.
Featured Image: Bicycles and Workers in Rice Paddies in North Korea by Ray Cunningham on 2013-06-19 10:01:09