Daniel Boffey in Brussels writing for The Guardian (Wed 3 Apr 2019) reports that western donors have been urged to ‘put children before politics’ in face of food shortfall.
David Beasley, the head of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and a former Republican governor of South Carolina who backed Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency, has called for the White House and other western donors to put children’s lives before politics and fund a major injection of aid to the DPRK despite the failure of Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong-un.
Due to flooding and a heatwave last year, the DPRK is facing a shortfall of 1.4m tonnes in food production this year, including wheat, rice, potatoes and soybean.
Boffey notes that an estimated 11 million people – 40% of the population – are already undernourished, with one in five children stunted due to chronic malnutrition.
“This is a serious issue and children are going to be severely impacted if we do not do something by the time the lean season truly kicks in by June,” Beasley said.
“Russia has responded and is sending in 50,000 metric tonnes [of wheat], China is doing something too. Western donors are still hoping that the [breaking] of the impasse will take place so that everyone can come in together.”
Beasley added: “The concerns have been about not helping the regime. We make the case: don’t let innocent children suffer because of politics.”
Daniel Boffey reminds us in his article that the DPRK has struggled to feed its people for more than two decades and a famine in the 1990s left as many as one million dead – about 5% of the population at the time.
Furthermore, a recent report from the WFP (April 2, 2019) notes that more than 113 million people across 53 countries experienced acute hunger requiring urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance.
Despite a slight decrease in these numbers in 2017, over the past three years, WFP reports have consistently shown that, year on year, more than 100 million people (2016, 2017 and 2018) have faced periods of acute hunger.
Those numbers do not include people in the DPRK.
Full story in The Guardian here.