Aid Groups Continue to Send Food to N. Korea Despite Obstacles

Jun 13, 2003 11:11 AM EDT

Three International aid groups, Holt International Children's Service, World Vision an Mercy Corps send nutrition biscuits, vegetables and apple trees to North Korea, Religion News Service reported on 12.

Although serious issues such as nulcear weapons, President Bush's "axis of evil" comment arise, aid groups have continuously sent aid supplies to North Koreans.

Meanwhile, a reporesentative of the American Friends Service Committee, James Reilly brought three American classical musicians to perform in Pyongyang. He said there was always an audible gasp from the audiences.

Nowadays, some of the aid groups are having difficulties in helping North Korea because the obstacles to reach it have increase, such as flights to Pyongyang shutting down because of SARS and nuclear weapons making negative diplomatic relations between the United States and North Korea.

Care, US relief-and-development organization abandoned North Korea. A Care Spokesman, Rick Perera explained, "We felt our resources have not been constantly accessed to the people and we needed to be sure that our resources were reaching the people who needed them most."

Lutheran World Relief recently pulled out aid activities because the supporters diverted to other destinations like Iraq.

However, church-based aid groups asserted that aid activities should be continued. Church World Service director, Victor Hsu pointed, "Our First motivation is to provide help wherever it's needed."

Recently Christian relief groups sent 670 tons of fortified flour to nursery schools and kindergartens in North Korea. Church World Service and the National Council of Churches USA have invited North Korean officials to conference scheduled on June 16-18 in Washington.

Holt International is sending four tons of Chinese made nutrition biscuits each month to children in the area of Sinuiju.

Mercy Corps recently sent Nike-donated jackets and medical supplies worth $250,000 to North Korea. Also it sends tens of thousands of apple trees to Pyongyang.

The United Nations World Food Program shipped 373,000 tons of food to North Korea last year. WFP is appealing to donors, the United States, South Korea, Canada, Germany, to give more donations. Japan, previously a major donor, stopped donations when North Korea admitted it kidnapped Japanese citizens.

By Young Sun Lee
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