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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Emergency Aid Drops for N. Korea

by Jee Abbey Lee January 26, 2015

Crises in other parts of the world are causing the United Nations to lower emergency relief aid to North Korea this year.

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has allocated about $100 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to boost relief work in 12 countries, including North Korea.

But only about $2 million will be given to the communist country for the first half of this year, a 70 percent plunge from the beginning of last year.

The decrease comes as the need for humanitarian assistance in worn-torn Syria has gone from $1 million to more than $12 million in less than four years.

In an email response to the VOA Korean service, however, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Chief Spokesperson Amanda Pitt wrote that each allocation is made independently of one another.

"[The] humanitarian teams are selected to receive under-funded grants based on the CERF secretariat's funding and vulnerability analysis, the U.N. agencies' recommendations, and consultations with humanitarian experts in countries with long-standing and under-funded humanitarian operations," Pitt elaborated.

More than $77 million of the first half of CERF funding in 2015 for emergency relief work will go to countries affected by the Syria crisis. The highest single allocation will go to Syria at $30 million, and the remainder will go to humanitarian agencies in the neighboring countries.

Another $14 million will support aid operations in three countries in the Great Lakes Region in Africa, where the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is having ripple effects.

The $2 million for North Korea is only a fraction of the overall foreign aid received by the communist country. Last year, the U.N. and member nations provided $51 million in aid, mostly for humanitarian food and health projects.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.

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