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Hunger Said Severe in N. Korea

September 14, 1996|Associated Press

BEIJING — Almost all of North Korea's 24 million people are suffering from prolonged, severe hunger, particularly the children and elderly who are most vulnerable to disease and starvation, a U.N. official said Friday.

Famine in the isolated Communist country may worsen next year unless there is an immediate infusion of aid, Robert Hauser, of the World Food Program's office in North Korea, said.

Severe flooding and landslides in the past two years have led to poorer and poorer harvests and hastened a long-term decline in North Korea's ability to feed itself.

Thousands of people died in the flooding. There have been no official reports of starvation deaths. But foreign officials who recently visited North Korea reported seeing children with distended bellies.

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