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NGO: North Korean orphans suffer severe malnutrition

Monday, Dec 17, 2012 - 01:45

Dec. 17 - Many children in North Korean orphanages are severely malnourished, says a Danish development organization after visits to the country. Travis Brecher reports.

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The situation for many young children in North Korean orphanages is dire. In two trips last summer, Danish relief and development NGO Mission East visited three orphanages that house over 700 children. Mission East found in a random test that over 70 percent were acutely malnourished. The organisation's managing director said many of them wouldn't survive without better care. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MISSION EAST KIM HARTZNER SAYING: "I came into a room and I saw some fifteen babies lying on the floor, they were all in the same situation. They were filled with sores, and infections and they have fingers that were like little sticks. It was a horrible sight and these children are bound to die if they're not being helped in the very near future." While children in orphanages are far more at risk than those in the general population, he added that malnutrition is still endemic across the country. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MISSION EAST KIM HARTZNER SAYING: "The situation in North Korea today is absolutely catastrophical. One third of the 25 million population are suffering from long-term malnourishment." A series of summer floods and typhoons have exacerbated the food crisis. The country's food distribution system as well as international sanctions imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes have made matters worse. And after North Korea conducted its second rocket launch this month in defiance of international complaints, some countries are calling for further sanctions - a demand that could spell disaster for the already impoverished population.

NGO: North Korean orphans suffer severe malnutrition

Monday, Dec 17, 2012 - 01:45

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