Millions of North Korean children are not getting the food, medicine or healthcare they need to develop physically or mentally, leaving many stunted and malnourished, the United Nations said today.
Nearly a third of children under the age of five show signs of stunting, particularly in rural areas where food is scarce, and chronic diarrhea due to a lack of clean water, sanitation and electricity has become the leading cause of death among children, the agency said.
Hospitals are spotless but bare, few have running water or power, and drugs and medicine are in short supply, the agency said in a detailed update on the humanitarian situation in North Korea.
‘I’ve seen babies… who should have been sitting up who were not sitting up, and can hardly hold a baby bottle,’ Jerome Sauvage, the UN’s Pyongyang-based resident co-ordinator for North Korea, said in Beijing before presenting the report to donors.
The report paints a horrific picture of deprivation in the countryside, not often seen by outsiders, who are usually not allowed to travel beyond the relatively prosperous Pyongyang, where cherubic children are hand-picked to attend government celebrations and a middle-class with a taste for good food have the means to eat out.
Mr Sauvage’s report provides not only further evidence of North Korea’s inability to feed its people, but also bolsters critics who say the government should be spending on food security instead of building up its military, testing rockets and pursuing a nuclear programme denounced by the UN, the United States and South Korea.
The United Nations called for $198 million in donations for 2012 – mostly to help feed the hungry.
Somebody needs to be taken out ASAP!
North Korea’s starving children