North Korea sanctions hampering aid from U.N. agencies

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (UPI) — Six United Nations agencies focused on providing assistance to North Korea are having trouble sending remittances due to international sanctions.

A group of agencies including the World Food Program say they are facing difficulties giving aid via bank transfers due to the financial sanctions being imposed on North Korea, Kyodo news agency reported Thursday.

Concerned parties have asked the U.N. Security Council for an answer on the issue. The food shortage situation is growing more serious in the country and there is increasing worry of a possible delay in humanitarian assistance.

The United States and Russia, both permanent members of the Security Council, have agreed to work on a joint response to the request, according to the press report.

There is a clause in the Security Council sanctions resolution that passed in March that did exempt activities with “humanitarian purposes” from the restrictions that apply to other forms of exchange.

North Korea’s food situation has steadily worsened since 2011, according to the WFP.

For the second quarter of 2016, daily rations did not exceed 360 grams per person.

That level is 62 percent of the minimum daily recommended amount and is also the lowest ration level designated by North Korea since the second quarter of 2011, Voice of America reported.

The Security Council has previously condemned Pyongyang for launching a series of mid-range ballistic missiles and for diverting resources away from humanitarian support.

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