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Australia Provides Humanitarian Assistance to North Korea

Contact: Malcolm Cole, Minister's Office, 02 6277 7500; AusAID Public Affairs, 0417 680 590


MT BARKER, SA, April 27 /Standard Newswire/ -- -- Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer releases the following:


Australia will provide nearly $4 million in assistance to North Koreans to help meet some of their pressing humanitarian needs.


Photo: Alexander Downer


The assistance will be delivered through UN agencies and the International Red Cross.


There are major ongoing humanitarian needs in North Korea, particularly in health, hygiene and nutrition.


Thirty-seven percent of North Koreans suffer from chronic malnutrition, and two-thirds of North Korean children do not receive enough food because of a one million tonne food shortfall. Many North Koreans also lack access to clean water and sanitation.


Australian assistance will respond to these humanitarian needs. The Australian Government will provide $1.5 million through the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food for 1.9 million people.


We will continue to support UNICEF's excellent water and sanitation program with a further contribution of $1.5 million.


We will also provide $467,000 for emergency health and essential medicines to be delivered by the World Health Organization; and $500,000 for disaster management and water supply and sanitation to be delivered by the Red Cross.


The recent Australian senior officials' delegation to North Korea in mid March confirmed the pressing needs for humanitarian aid. It reported that Australia's previous humanitarian assistance been very effective, well-targeted and well-delivered.