Progress in North Korea but long road ahead: UN aid chief [Tribune] 12 Jul, 2018

The UN official also met with the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam as well as health minister Jang Jun Sang during the visit.PHOTO:REUTERS SEOUL:North Korea has made “lots of progress” in providing food and medical services to its people in recent years but the impoverished state still has a long, tough road ahead, the UN humanitarian chief said Thursday.Mark Lowcock’s visit to the isolated country this week is the first such trip by a UN undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator since 2011.“If you go back 20 years or so there were very many large-scale humanitarian problems resulting in enormous loss of life and in the recent period there has been a lot of progress,” Lowcock told reporters in the capital Pyongyang.UN aid chief says ‘clear evidence of humanitarian need’ in North KoreaNorth Korea has periodically been hit by famine, and hundreds of thousands of people died — estimates range into millions — in the mid-1990s.Nearly 30 percent of the country’s children were stunted from malnutrition in 2011 but the number has fallen to 20 percent now, Lowcock said, admitting however even the current figure is “still a higher number”.“So there are still significant humanitarian challenges here despite the progress that has been made,” he said.About 10.6 million people among the country’s 25 million population need humanitarian assistance, the UN said, also noting “disparities” in access to basic health services between rural and urban areas.The UN earlier this year called for $111 million in aid to help improve nutrition, health and sanitation in the North but the programme remains 90 per cent underfunded.Convincing donor states that their contributions could “save lives and reduce suffering” by providing North Koreans with much-needed food, drugs and other medical supplies would remain a top priority, Lowcock said.UN probes attacks on Syria hospitals after location shared with RussiaThe UN official also met with the North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam as well as health minister Jang Jun Sang during the visit.“They are keen to work with humanitarian agencies and are open to additional humanitarian assistance, and are also keen to deal with humanitarian issues separately from political dynamics,” Lowcock said.The North has a fragile economy and has long struggled to feed its people, and is under multiple layers of UN Security Council sanctions over a series of nuclear and missile tests staged in violation of UN resolutions.UN plans to deliver aid to Syria’s Ghouta on MondayNGOs have told AFP that the enforcement of sanctions has hampered their operations.The food situation has improved in recent years, partly due to reforms in agriculture and increasing trade at state-sanctioned private markets, but the nation remains vulnerable to natural disasters while medical services remain poor in many regions.

More News

Kavanaugh accuser demands FBI probe before testifying

19 Sep, 2018 DailyTimes

President Donald Trump doubled down Tuesday on backing his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh, as his accuser demanded an FBI probe into her allegatio ... Detail

A child under 15 dies every five seconds around world: UN report

19 Sep, 2018 Radio Pakistan

The United Nations says an estimated 6.3 million children below the age of 15 died last year, mostly of preventable causes.The United Nations Children ... Detail

PM Imran in Saudi Arabia on maiden foreign visit

19 Sep, 2018 DailyTimes

RIYADH: Pakistan Prime Minister arrived in Saudi Arabia Tuesday on his first foreign visit since coming to power, with speculation swirling that he ma ... Detail

Barca soar as Messi hat-trick drowns PSV

19 Sep, 2018 DailyTimes

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick against Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven to kick-start the UEFA Champions League 2018-19 campaign on a ... Detail

North, South Korea agree on measures for denuclearisation

19 Sep, 2018 SuchTV

Moon is on a three-day trip to the North Korean capital for his third summit with Kim this year, hoping to reboot stalled denuclearisation talks betwe ... Detail

Post Your Comments
Type your Comments / Review in the space below.
Verify Code