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2008/09 DPRK Humanitarian News Digest

Chart of USAID Shipments to the DPRK -- 2009

January 27, 2009

This chart lists all USAID Food Aid Shipments to the DPRK. It was last updated January 27, 2009, and will be updated as appropriate.

 

Australia's Assistance to WFP for DPRK

January 13, 2009

 

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith announced on January 13 that Australia will contribute $3.75 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea. Responding to the findings of the joint report from the FAO and WFP, Australia is contributing $2 million of the $3.75 million to the WFP for "urgent food supplies to the most vulnerable groups in North Korea."

 

US food aid to North Korea

January 6, 2009

 

The State Department announced on January 6 that a shipment of 21,000 metric tons of US food aid is expected to arrive in North Korea later this week. "We continue to support the US-DPRK food aid program and are committed to the well-being of the North Korean people," the State Department said in a statement. The statement also said that the shipment will be distributed by US NGOs.

 

Estonia's Contribution to DPRK through WFP

December 11, 2008

 

In a response to the joint report of FAO and WFP on December 8, the government of Estonia announced on December 11 that it will contribute 500,000 kroons (32,000 EUR) to aid "needy citizens in North Korea" through the World Food Programme in North Korea.

 

FAO and WFP joint report on North Korea Food Shortages

December 8, 2008

 

In a December 8 joint press release, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said that an estimated 8.7 million people, about 40 percent of the DPRK population, will face food shortages due to an expected deficit in agricultural production. According to the report of FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission, conducted in October 2008, the grain deficit is expected due to shortages of fertilizer and fuel. "The findings of the mission confirm WFP's fears that millions of DPRK households will suffer through yet another year of food shortages," said Torben Due, the WFP DPRK Representative in Pyongyang. "Previous food security assessments have shown that the majority of families in DPRK are already cutting down the average number of meals per day and consuming a diet treacherously poor in diversity," said Due. The report estimates the grain deficit to be 836,000 MT, even after commercial imports of about 500,000MT for the 2008/2009 year. The DPRK needs approximately 800,000 MT of food to feed almost 9 million people until the next harvest in October 2009.

 

Italy's contribution to FAO

October 17, 2008

The Italian government announced on October 17 that its Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Directorate General for Cooperation and Development has contributed a sum of 150,000 Euros to FAO "in response to urgent humanitarian assistance in the DPRK." The government spokesman said that "the contribution, in particular, will improve the rehabilitation of agricultural sector and it will cover needs identified by FAO."

 

Australian Government Pledges its Commitment on Food Security

October 16, 2008

The Australian government announced on October 16 (World Food Day) that it will contribute $3 million to the World Food Program in North Korea. This aid will support WFP's new emergency operation to undertake food shortages in North Korea.

 

Fourth US Food Aid Shipment to the DPRK

October 16, 2008

The fourth US food aid shipment of 25,060 metric tons of bulk corn and soy is scheduled to sail for the DPRK this week. Upon its arrival in Nampo in late November, the shipment will be distributed by the partnership of five humanitarian agencies: Mercy Corps, World Vision, Samaritan' s Purse, Global Resource Services and Christian Friends of Korea. It would be the fist time that this NGO partnership will conduct and monitor the distribution of the shipment in its entirety. The food will be delivered to recipients through public distribution centers, orphanages, schools, hospitals and nurseries in Chagang and North Pyongan Provinces.

 

WFP Announces new DPRK Program

September 2, 2008

In a September 2 press release, the World Food Programme announced a new food assistance program to the DPRK totaling nearly half a billion dollars. The WFP reported the following contributions: Switzerland (US$970,000), Italy (US$770,000), Norway (US$395,000), New Zealand (US$347,000), Luxembourg (US$ 297,000).

Heavy Rains Hit DPRK

August 6, 2008

In July and August heavy rains hit the DPRK in areas also affected by summer 2007 flooding. According to KCNA (Torrential rains hit DPRK, August 4) it rained heavily in most parts of the country on July 20, 21, 24 and 25 and again from August 1-August 3. The August rains were particularly severe in Kangwon, North and South Phyongan and South Hwanghae provinces. KCNA reported that the "recent downpours inflicted heavy losses to various sectors of the national economy including agriculture and to the people's living in the relevant areas. In an August 5 press release ("Heavy Rains in DPR Korea"), the Food and Agriculture Organization pointed out three reasons for concern that flooding may occur including the observation that recently annual rainfall has become "heavier and more concentrated over the July and August period" and the fact that although "considerable labor has gone into rebuilding embankments, small dams, and even into dredging of major watercourses," rehabilitation from the August 2007 floods is incompete, leaving such structures vulnerable to cresting waters.

WFP Survey in DPRK Finds Widespread Hunger

July 30, 2008

At a July 30 press briefing, Jean-Pierre de Margerie, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director for DPRK said that "Millions of vulnerable North Koreans are at risk of slipping towards precarious hunger levels." His comments were based on a survey conducted by the WFP and the UN Food and and Agriculture Organization (FAO)in June of 53 counties in Ryanggang, North Hamgyong, South Hamgyong, Kangwon, North Hwanghae, South Hwanghae, South Phyongan, and Pyongyang provinces. According to the press release, rice has almost tripled in price from more than a year ago, and maize has quadrupled in price. North Hamgyong Province is one of the worst affected regions. "The last time hunger was so deep and so widespread in parts of the country was in the late 1990s," said de Margerie. This was the most comprehensive assessment conducted since 2004.

New Zealand Announces Aid to DPRK

July 29, 2008

New Zeland Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced on July 29 that New Zeland will contribute $500,000 to the DPRK via the WFP. Peters said "The World Food Programme is the only major international agency addressing the consequences of the food shortage in North Korea. They are a trusted partner for New Zealand's aid efforts and will help to ensure our assistance gets to those who need it most."

Food Aid from Russia

July 9, 2008

 Food aid to the DPRK arrived this week in Sinuiju from Russia via train. The food will be distributed by the WFP. KCNA commented that the food that Russia provided to the people of North Korea is a mark of the existing friendship of the peoples of the two countries.

First Food Shipment Reaches DPRK

July 1, 2008

The first U.S. food aid shipment, 37,000 metric tons (MT) of U.S. wheat, arrived in Nampo last weekend. Half the shipment will be unloaded in Nampo, with the remainder to be unloaded in Hungnam and Chongjin, according to the International Herald Tribune. The shipment, the first of 500,000 MTs, comes following a joint needs assessment to determine commodity mix and delivery schedules. On June 30, the five US NGOS (Mercy CorpsWorld VisionSamaritan's PurseGlobal Resource Services and Christian Friends of Korea) that will be delivering 100,000 MTs of the assistance issued a press release about the assesment and their plans. The World Food Programme announced a new agreement governing the WFP delivery of aid, according to a posting on Relief Web: "The new agreement with the DPRK Government will allow WFP to send nearly 50 more international aid workers to the country, who will oversee and monitor the delivery of food to make sure it reaches hungry people most in need. It allows the organization to expand into 128 counties, up from just 50, including the remote and traditionally food-insecure Northeast and some counties never before accessible to humanitarian agencies." For more humanitarian news, click here.

 

US to Send Primarily Corn

 

July 2, 2008

According to Reuters, USAID's future food aid

to the DPRK will consist mostly of corn. USAID plans to buy about 50,000 tonnes of food a month for a year.

Contributions to WFP in DPRK: Russia joins Italy, Australia

June 20, 2008

According to the International Herald Tribune, Russia announced on June 18 that they are sending 2,860 MT of wheat flour to the DPRK via the World Food Programme (WFP). They join Italy, which announced a 500,000 Euro contribution to the WFP (Relief Web), also on on June 18 and a June 6 announcement by Australia of a US$ 29 million commitment to the DPRK (IHT). Meanwhile, on June 30 the DPRK did not accept an offer made by the ROK government for a shipment of 50,000 MT of corn, according to the IHT.

US to Resume Food Aid to DPRK

May 20, 2008

On May 16, 2008, USAID announced that, due to reports of a major shortfall in food supplies in North Korea, the United States government will provide 500,000 metric tons (MT) of mixed commodities over a twelve month period beginning June 2008. The World Food Programme (WFP) will distribute approximately 400,000 MTs and the remainder will be distributed by US NGOs. The United States reported that the assistance will be delivered according to new agreements on monitoring, and an announcement in KCNAon May 17 commented that "The DPRK is ready to provide all technical conditions necessary for the food delivery." An upcoming "experts meeting" will determine operational details prior to the first delivery.

For an outline of the NGO, bilateral and multilateral responses to the Summer-Fall 2007 flooding in the DPRK, please click here.