Experts from the “European Commission” have gathered evidence of the deteriorating situation for one-fourth of the North Korean population who suffer from food insecurity. The “European Commission” has announced a €10 million aid package in emergency food assistance to reach around 650,000 people at risk of serious malnutrition. The assistance is targeting the most vulnerable, namely children under five, pregnant and breast-feeding women, the infirm and the old.
Amid fears of food diversion, the “EU Commission” reached an agreement with the North Korean government to establish unprecedented monitoring procedures. “World Food Programme” (WFP) will be in charge of managing and monitoring the delivery of the EU food aid, while the experts have been promised unrestricted access to check that aid reaches its intended recipients.
In dealing with the authoritarian government, the “EU Commission” is determined not to compromise the fundamental humanitarian values. However, the same values: neutrality, impartiality, universality, independence are mostly challenged when humanitarians need to negotiate access to the affected people with the one who govern.
Meanwhile, the USA and South Korea have responded quite differently to the crisis. Until a “monitoring system” is put in place, any food shipment will end. Another major challenge is whether denying such aid would increase, as a result, the responsibility of the government to redirect scarce funds from military expenditures to draught affected areas. Yet, while the political leaders are risking playing “politics with poverty” and using food aid as a tool for foreign policy, the humanitarian community is calling for immediate action, amid growing hunger.