Wed, 24 Jul 2019

Seoul [South Korea], Jun 25 (ANI): South Korea on Tuesday said that it is considering to give an additional grant to global aid agencies for assisting the people of North Korea who are facing health issues.

South Korea's unification ministry said in its report to the lawmakers that donations could be made to agencies like the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for their assistance projects in North Korea, which has been facing severe food shortages due to a multitude of global sanctions imposed on its stagnant economy and unfavourable weather conditions.

Last year, the reclusive communist state's crop output plunged to its lowest level since 2008 and about 40 per cent of the population need urgent access to proper food, according to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Yonhap News Agency reported.

The two agencies said that North Korea will require an estimated 1.36 million tons of grain this year to plug the gap on food shortage.

South Korea donated USD 8 million to WFP and UNICEF earlier this month as part of their assistance projects in North Korea. Seoul also announced that it would send 50,000 tons of rice to its impoverished northern neighbour via WFP.

An official from the unification ministry said that logistics of delivering the rice to North Korea will be deliberated with WFP after completing necessary internal administrative steps, including the approval of money needed to secure the rice.

The official noted that WFP will take care of the issue of possible sanctions exemptions needed to deliver the rice to the communist country since the agency is responsible for transporting and monitoring the distribution of the aid, according to Yonhap.

This will be the first time in nearly nine years that South Korea will send rice to North Korea. It will also mark the first time that Seoul has provided rice to Pyongyang through a global agency.

In 2010, the South Korean government had sent 5,000 tons of rice to North Korea following flash floods which damaged crops and led to severe food shortage in the communist country. (ANI)

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