On June 4, the UN World Food program forecast North Korea would run out of food stocks by June 20. UNICEF reported that 2.6 million children are at immediate risk, and the International Federation of the Red Cross said on June 20 that 5 million North Koreans are facing starvation. Eyewitness reports from CARE Australia from June 24, the UN Undersecretary-General Yasushi Akashi from June 28 and US Congressman Tony Hall from April confirm the gravity of the situation.
The UN World Food Program has reported that if all the pledges are realised, their original appeal of around 200,000 tonnes has been filled. They also report that the food deflect is over I million tonnes has been filled. They also report that the food deficit is over 1 million tonnes. Inquiries to the WFP in Rome have revealed they intend calling for another 130,000 tonnes, an appeal, which has been formulated on the basis of increasing that ration of kindergarten children from 100 grams per day to 450 grams per day.
The Australian government gave $2.9 million to the World Food Program appeal in the last financial year. While commendable, it is totally inadequate in terms of volume of food actually required. If we seriously regard ourselves as a nation of the Asia-Pacific region, it is incumbent apon us to respond to the humanitarian crisis facing North Korea.
The Australian government must immediately take the following action:
1 Direct AusAID to provide, in full, the necessary food that Australia NGOs are trying to raise to provide relief. The figure being talked about in Australian aid circles in 50,000 tonnes; the Australian Wheat Board has 500,000 tonnes of wheat. AusAID should also require as to what grain is available from the Rice Growers Co-operative and Grainco.
2 Ensure that the next World Food Program appeal is filled immediately, and take the lead among the nations of the world community to ensure the entire food deficit is filled as soon as possible.
as of July 11, according to the WFP’s forecast, many North Koreans have been without food for 21 days. Action by the Australian Government must be immediate.”
Letter from Korean living in US.