Unicef pleads for funds to feed N.Korean children, women

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The UN children's agency pleaded Tuesday for millions in funding to feed malnourished children and pregnant or nursing women in North Korea.

"If the funding does not arrive and we are unable to keep up our nutrition programmes to treat those children who are severely malnourished, these children will suffer irreversible consequences on their growth and development capacity," said Bijaya Rajbhandari, the agency's representative in North Korea.

Unicef had asked for $20.4 million for 2011, but has received just $4.6 million.

The agency's appeal came a week after UN aid chief Valerie Amos urged the world to reduce "terrible" levels of malnutrition in the country.

Amos, who visited North Korea in October, said that "six million people urgently need food aid and the outside world is not giving enough".

Donations to United Nations programmes for the North have dwindled because of international irritation at the Pyongyang's missile and nuclear push.

© 2011 AFP

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