Tuesday 12 December 2017

Starving N Korean children 'stunted'

Jean H. Lee in Pyongyang, North Korea

Millions of North Korean children are not getting the food, medicine or healthcare they need to develop, leaving many stunted and malnourished, the UN said yesterday.

A third of children under age five show signs of stunting, particularly in rural areas where food is scarce, and diarrhoea due to a lack of clean water has become the leading cause of death. Hospitals are bare; few have water or power, and medicine is in short supply.

"I've seen babies . . . who should have been sitting up who were not sitting up, and can hardly hold a baby bottle," Jerome Sauvage, the UN's Pyongyang-based resident coordinator for North Korea, said in Beijing before presenting the report to donors.

The report paints a horrific picture of deprivation in the countryside, not often seen by outsiders, who are usually not allowed to travel beyond the relatively prosperous Pyongyang, where cherubic children are hand-picked to attend government celebrations and a middle-class with a taste for good food have the means to eat out.

Irish Independent

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