Has starvation become a foreign diplomacy tool?

[The Oregonian journalist Richard Read speaks to relief managers from Mercy Corps and Samaritan’s Purse, who claim that the Obama administration has abandoned Ronald Reagan’s “hungry-child policy” that separated food aid from politics. Read’s article, reproduced below, first appeared in OregonLive.com on 13 April 2013. –CanKor]

Relief managers from Portland-based Mercy Corps say U.S. let North Koreans starve as retribution for missile launch

By Richard Read, The Oregonian, updated April 13, 2013 at 10:55 PM
A North Korean mother lies with her acutely malnourished son, plagued by sores, at a county hospital in September 2011. (Photo by Jim White, Mercy Corps)

A North Korean mother lies with her acutely malnourished son, plagued by sores, at a county hospital in September 2011. (Photo by Jim White, Mercy Corps)

A 3-year-old girl weighed less than 16 pounds, surviving on saline solution and ground rice. Babies lay passively, too weak to cry. Relief workers saw stunted and wasted children languishing in unheated hospitals amid floods and reduced rations during an unusually harsh winter.

That was two years ago. Portland-based Mercy Corps and four other humanitarian organizations given rare access to North Korea warned: “a catastrophic situation is developing.” After a year of prodding, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced 120,000 metric tons of food for North Korea.

But food never reached hungry Koreans. The Obama administration let political distrust, instead of need, dictate food policy.

Communication and good will broke down, leaving White House officials little to draw on today as Pyongyang ratchets up threats of nuclear attack. Read the rest of this entry »

Food Security Assessment by 5 US NGOs

OVERVIEW

A team of seven experts from five U.S.-based non-governmental organizations – Christian Friends of Korea, Global Resource Services, Mercy Corps, Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision – recently finished a needs assessment for food security in three provinces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The team found evidence of looming food shortages and rising malnutrition.

The team traveled to the provinces of North Pyongan, South Pyongan and Chagang over a week period from February 8-15. The assessment was requested by the North Korean government.

FINDINGS Read the rest of this entry »

Aid Agencies Complete Needs Assessment in North Korea

Hungju Chicken Farm, Chagang Province, DPRK

Hungju Chicken Farm, Chagang Province, DPRK

Below is a press release issued by five aid agencies who warn of looming food shortages and acute malnutrition in North Korea. Press release below:

Washington, DC— Five aid agencies have found evidence of looming food shortages and acute malnutrition in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). A team of seven experts from Christian Friends of Korea, Global Resource Services, Mercy Corps, Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision recently finished a week-long needs assessment for food security in three North Korean provinces. Read the rest of this entry »

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