UN Humanitarian Chief in N. Korea to Assess Food Crisis

Posted October 17th, 2011 at 7:40 am (UTC-5)
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United Nations' humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has arrived in North Korea on a mission to assess the communist country's chronic food shortages.

Amos arrived Monday in Pyongyang, where she said she plans to hold talks with officials on long-range plans for meeting the country's food needs.

The world body estimates that 6 million North Koreans are in urgent need of food aid. It says world governments have contributed less than 30 percent of funding needed to end the food crisis.

Earlier this month, Amos attributed the funding shortage to Western concerns that food aid will be diverted to the North Korean military and not reach those most in need. But she said monitoring has improved in the past year, with the North allowing random visits and the use of Korean-speaking staff for the first time.

The United States and the European Union both sent teams to assess North Korea's food needs earlier this year. The Europeans said they will send aid, but Washington still has not announced a decision.