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U.N. food aid to North Korea declined in February

Insufficient funds have impeded the delivery of food to North Korean children.

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Koreans work in the fields near the North Korean city Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. A domestic food shortage and a decrease in international food aid to the country means less nutritional support for North Korean children, according to the World Food Program. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
North Koreans work in the fields near the North Korean city Sinuiju, across the Yalu River from Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. A domestic food shortage and a decrease in international food aid to the country means less nutritional support for North Korean children, according to the World Food Program. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

March 28 (UPI) -- International food aid to North Korea has declined drastically, and the World Food Program can no longer provide nutritional bars to 190,000 North Korean children.

A lack of funds was cited as the cause of the shortage, Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday.

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According to the report, insufficient funds have impeded the delivery of food to 190,000 North Korean preschoolers, beginning in March.

The United Nations agency had previously said it would need $1.29 billion to supply food to vulnerable groups in North Korea.

But only 28 percent of the U.N. target has been secured, according to the WFP.

In February, the U.N. agency managed to supply 1,504 tons of fortified foods to 680,000 vulnerable North Koreans.

Those figures indicate a decrease of 1,062 tons of food from January, and shows that an additional 143,000 people were excluded from food aid, month to month.

The World Food Program also said 18 million North Koreans, or 70 percent of the total population relies on food distributed by authorities, but the rations remain at 400 grams daily per person, or 67 percent of the U.N.-recommended amount.

In January the WFP distributed more than 2,500 tons of food across 63 North Korea counties in nine provinces. The international food aid added about an average of 100 grams of food a day to the North Korean diet, according to VOA.

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In 2016 North Korea's food shortage worsened in areas heavily hit by floods that washed away farmland and forced people out of their homes.

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