New York - International sanctions against North Korea
have hit humanitarian funding for the isolated country, five UN agencies said on
Monday in an appeal for help.
The agencies called for $29.4m to pay for health and food
They indicated that "dire funding" provided for
North Korea in recent months could threaten humanitarian operations in the
UN sanctions against North Korea have been stepped up
after a long range rocket test in December and its third nuclear weapons test
The UN Children's Fund (Unicef), World Food Programme
(WFP), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation
(FAO), said they were feeling fallout from North Korea's isolation.
"Even though the imposed sanctions clearly exclude
humanitarian assistance, a negative impact on the levels of humanitarian
funding has been experienced," the agencies said in a statement.
The agencies said they had received just over a quarter
of the $147m they needed for operations in the North this year.
"As a result of the persisting deficit, agencies are
unable to respond effectively to the humanitarian needs out of which the most
critical and life-saving ones urgently require $29.4m," they added.
"The dire funding situation leaves the UN agencies
and other humanitarian actors concerned about the continuation of their
programmes" in North Korea.
The agencies said there had been "a slight
improvement" in the humanitarian situation in the past year.
But Unicef said it was running short of cash for basic
vaccines and medicines for child killers such as pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The UN estimates that about one-third of North Korean
children under five are chronically malnourished.
North Korea, which has a population of about 24 million,
suffered famine-like conditions in the 1990s in which several hundred thousand
people died, according to aid groups.