Switzerland becomes No. 1 donor of foreign aid to North Korea

May 22 (UPI) — Switzerland is emerging as the No. 1 donor of humanitarian assistance to North Korea as concerns grow over the deteriorating food situation in the isolated country.

The landlocked European country has agreed to donate about $5 million to mitigate the food crisis in North Korea at a time when the World Food Program has said the smallest monthly provision of food in 2019 was delivered in April, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap and other news services.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said Wednesday the Swiss government’s donation of exactly $4.985 million was received in April.

The total amount of funding this year for humanitarian aid to North Korea, and other countries, is $15.7 million, according to OCHA. Those donations were made through various U.N. agencies.

Switzerland has in total provided $7.8 million in humanitarian support, making it the largest donor, followed by Russia at $4 million, Sweden at $2.44 million and Canada at $570,000.

Disaster relief for North Korea has continued quietly behind the scenes. In a recent report, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it supplied about $610,000 in disaster relief in North Korea in August.

U.N. agency World Food Program recently said about half a million people in North Korea have received food assistance.

Nutrition assistance has gone to “6,310 children in boarding schools, 324,990 children in nurseries, 2,970 children in pediatric wards or hospitals, and 114,510 pregnant and breastfeeding women,” the WFP said in its online report.

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