N Korea drought: 18 MILLION could starve to death as Kim diverts funds to build nukes

10-Nov-2017 Intellasia | Express | 6:00 AM Print This Post

NORTH KOREA’S Kim Jong-un has been accused of diverting cash to fund nuclear missile development while 18 million people edge closer to death due to a devastating drought.

United Nations chiefs will visit the country urgently before it is too late to “make the case very clearly that innocent children should not starve to death”.

David Beasley, head of the UN World Food programme, revealed the plans as he blamed the portly leader for ploughing money into his growing nuclear programme instead of helping his 18 million citizens who are “food insecure”.

Of those, 200,000 children are suffering with acute malnutrition, according to Unicef.

Beasley said: “I think the North Korean government understands, as I have made it clear, that Western donors don’t feel comfortable giving, because money that they think should be helping children is being used to build a nuclear programme.”

The United Nations is currently seeking GBP 40million ($52m) for North Korea, but has so far received just GBP 11.5m ($15m) to help North Korean citizens at risk of starvation and drought-related disease.

It has warned the World Food Programme (WFP) may have to suspend assistance if they do not receive an urgent GBP 7.6m ($10m) contribution.

Speaking of his planned visit, Beasley said: “We don’t want access for spying.

“We want access so we can make sure that people who need the food are getting the food.

Beasley’s warning comes after the WFP was forced to reduce rations in February, meaning North Korea’s most vulnerable, including pregnant women, new mothers and children, were handed just 66 per cent of the standard ration.

A persistent lack of rainfall in North Korea in recent months has decimated staple crops such as rice, maize, potatoes and soybean, which many of the country’s citizens depend on during the lean season that stretches from May to September.

Chronic malnutrition has left 28 per cent of children under the age of 5 stunted, meaning they are too small for their age because a lack of proteins and nutrients has left their growth stunted.

In July, the UN Food Agriculture Organisation estimated North Korea’s early-season crop production was down 30 per cent to 310,000 tonnes from the same time period last year.

The secretive state was previously ravaged by a widespread famineknown as the Arduous Marchwhere at least 2 million people are estimated to have died between 1994 and 1998.

In 1990 there were nearly 5million people going hungry in North Korea. In 2014 it was more than double that 10.4million.

But Kim Jong-un continues to flex his military muscle with a growing nuclear programme, which has left the world teetering on the edge of World War 3 as he continues his war of words with US President Donald Trump.



Category: Korea

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