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Gov't Finalizes Decision to Provide $8 Mln Aid to N. Korea via Int'l Agencies

Hot Issues of the Week2019-06-09

ⓒKBS News

Nagi Shafik, a public health inspector at UNICEF, said that contaminated drinking water in North Korea is causing increased cases of dysentery in the country.

During a three-week visit to the country to inspect public health conditions, Shafik says he saw cases of chronic diarrhea in Myongchon County in North Hamgyong Province in the country's northeast corner.

"In Myongchon, they said to me, we have lots of diarrheal diseases."

"If you invest in water and sanitation, you will save a lot of money."

UNICEF recently noted in a report that 39 percent of all North Koreans lack safe drinking water. The ratio rises to 56 percent in non-urban areas.

It also said that one out of ten North Korean children are suffering from chronic conditions like dysentery due to contaminated drinking water.

Shafik says international sanctions are obstructing treatment of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and hepatitis B that are endemic in North Korea. He argues that humanitarian aid and sanctions should be separate from one another.

"If you read the UN resolution about the sanctions, they say that the sanctions should not affect the humanitarian work. But it is affecting the humanitarian work."

He expects humanitarian assistance to positively change North Korean society, as he says the North Korean people are yearning for better lives.

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