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Interview: UN coordinator calls for funding for humanitarian needs in DPRK

(Xinhua)    10:01, April 10, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 -- Though the humanitarian situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is improving, there are still humanitarian needs in the country which require financial support from the international community, said a UN representative in DPRK.

Ghulam Isaczai, UN resident coordinator in DPRK, told Xinhua in an interview that DPRK has been in an under-funded chronic humanitarian situation due to the problem of food security and its vulnerability to natural disasters, such as floods and typhoons.

He explained that DPRK is a very mountainous country and lacks agricultural land, thus leading to less diverse food supply such as vegetables and fruits, which affects the overall nutritional state in the country.

According to a UN report "DPR Korea 2015: Needs and Priorities, " about 18 million people -- approximately 70 percent of the country's population -- do not have an adequately diverse diet.

"The UN provides support to 1.8 million vulnerable women and children with nutritious food, to schools, hospitals, and nurseries," he said. "We believe that there is still humanitarian need."

UN agencies in the DPRK will need 111 million U.S. dollars for this year's humanitarian operations, but the funding received is only 17 percent so far, said the report.

"We realized that the 17 percent is not adequate for the needs, " said Isaczai, adding "if we don't (mobilize the funding)...we will have to then curtail some of our humanitarian programs."

Statistics show that some UN aid programs are under-funded. In the past two years, the total fund received by UN agencies for DPRK humanitarian operations cannot meet even half of their requirements.

Noting that political issues sometimes affect funding support for the UN operations, Isaczai urged that "humanitarian needs must be kept separate from political issues to be able to ensure minimum living conditions for the most vulnerable, especially women, children and the elderly."

The fund required will support humanitarian activities in food and agriculture, health and nutrition, water and sanitation, which involves support from the UN agencies, including the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO), said the report.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Zhang Qian)

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