WFP starts food distribution in DPRK

Updated: 2011-09-22 11:40


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PYONGYANG - The United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) says it has started distributing food funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The 8.5 million euro ($11.6 million) emergency operation would feed mainly young children and women threatened by rising malnutrition in the DPRK, WFP said in a press release.

The first tranche of food purchased with ECHO funding -- more than 5,500 metric tons of wheat -- would go mainly to children under five years of age and pregnant and nursing mothers in a bid to protect the most vulnerable from the threat of malnutrition, it said.

"The European Union has shown its true humanitarian heart in supporting our vital work, helping the youngest and weakest - the people who are least able to fend for themselves," said WFP DPRK Country Director Claudia von Roehl.

"Our in-country stocks have been at an historic low, so the arrival of this food means we can make good on our plan to deliver vital supplies to those most in need," she said.

The bulk of the wheat is being distributed in four provinces considered to be among the most chronically food-insecure - North Hamgyong, South Hamgyong, Ryanggang and Kangwon.

The balance is being sent to WFP's networking factories around the country where it will be used to produce specialized nutritious food products to give children a nutritional boost of the vitamins and minerals frequently lacking in their regular diets.

These products would be ready for distribution by early October, WFP added.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries. The European Union is WFP's second largest donor.