Geneva, June 19 (IANS) South Korea has donated $4.5 million and 50,000 tonnes of rice to North Korea through the World Food Programme (WFP) amid a drought and food shortages in the country, the organization’s spokesperson said on Wednesday.
It is the largest donation through the WFP by Seoul since 2008, according to spokesperson Herve Verhoosel, who added that the aid would help feed between 1.5 and 2 million children, pregnant and lactating women.
“The DPRK has been hit hard by drought and poor harvests that have left millions of hungry children, women and men facing severe food shortages over the coming months,” said Asia-Pacific WFP Regional Director David Kaatrud in a statement cited by Efe news.
The UN programme estimated that a total of 300,000 tonnes of food aid – valued at approximately $275 million – is required to address the humanitarian needs in North Korea amid one of the worst droughts in the country in the last 40 years.
Some 10.1 million people – nearly half of the North Korean population – are at the risk of facing food shortages, Verhoosel said.
South Korea announced in May that it would donate $8 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea through international organizations.