International sanctions on North Korea are taking a serious toll on humanitarian aid activities, according to the latest United Nations report. The report was put together by five U.N. agencies, seven international non-governmental organizations and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The report said “chronic food insecurity, early childhood malnutrition and nutrition insecurity” continue to be widespread in the North, which it noted ranked 98th out of 118 countries in the 2016 Global Hunger Index. More than 10 million people — or about 41 percent of the North Korean population — are undernourished, it said.
The report also noted sanctions are making it harder to conduct aid activities. In particular, it said the “regular disruption” of banking channels since 2013 has made it difficult or impossible to transfer funds into the country. It also cited the additional requirements for licenses and the time it takes to determine what is or is not a potential sanctions’ violation as the cause of considerable delays that have forced agencies to “reprioritize” their aid activities.
It said the sanctions also have the psychological effect of making donors reluctant to provide funds for projects in the North.
The report, which was released online this week, noted that despite the need for better information and sufficient access to certain areas of the country, aid agencies operating in North Korea believe monitoring mechanisms are sufficient to ensure aid does indeed go to those who need it.