The humanitarian situation in North Korea is still tense and raising money for people requiring help there is complicated due to isolation of the reclusive communist state, UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
“DPRK is one of those countries, which because of their border political situation it is very difficult to raise money for them, although last year we managed to raise 40 percent of what we needed,” Amos said.
She also said that earlier in the week the United Nations proposed collecting this year some $200 million in humanitarian aid for North Korea.
Amos, who paid a visit to North Korea last year, said that on the whole the humanitarian situation nevertheless improved in the country.
“Following the recent assessments we think that the numbers of people requiring help and support has probably halved, but there is still a significant number of people who need help,” she said.
Earlier in the week, UN spokesman Martin Nesirsky said that some 16 million people in North Korea suffer from hunger, malnutrition and economic losses.
The reclusive communist state has suffered from a chronic shortage of food and energy due to years of isolation over its nuclear program, mismanagement and natural disasters. North Korea has relied on international handouts since 1995 to help feed its more than 20 million people.
A murderous famine gripped North Korea in mid 1990s after unprecedented floods. The official death toll released by the North Korean Food Damage Rehabilitation Committee in 1999 stands at 220,000, while various sources, estimate that from two to three million people died between 1995 and 1998.