North Korea needs support to tackle malnutrition

A mother and child in the WFP, WHO, UNICEF-supported Provincial Pediatric Hospital in Hamhung City, DPRK.

North Korea is being described as "a country of chronic poverty and underdevelopment" that needs increased humanitarian support by the international community.

The appeal comes from Valerie Amos, the head of United Nations humanitarian operations who is ending a five-day visit to the country.

Ms Amos says malnutrition is increasing in North Korea where six million people now depend on food aid.

"People are malnourished. I visited an orphanage, a baby home. I went to a hospital and saw women who had just given birth. I went to a paediatric ward in a hospital and saw children who were being treated for malnutrition. This is a country of chronic poverty and underdevelopment. There is no way with the best will in the world and even with the best climatic conditions that North Korea can feed itself."

Valerie Amos also stressed the need to review what she says are "underlying policies" in order to make a difference in North Korea's development in the longer term.

(Duration: 26")

As food crisis grips DPR Korea, UN aid chief urges world to not 'turn our backs'

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