Seoul [South Korea], May 21 (ANI): The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday granted sanctions exemption to allow the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to carry out aid programs in North Korea to improve the health and nutrition of people in the impoverished country.
The exemption, granted on April 11, paves the way for UNICEF to import items to deliver safe water supplies to communities and enable effective treatment at hospitals, especially for malnourished children and mothers, the global humanitarian agency said in its report cited by Yonhap.
The approved items worth some USD 5.75 million in total include emergency health kits, wheelchairs and electronic devices, a document on the website showed, the report said.
The most expensive set of materials was vaccine cold chain equipment from Denmark worth USD 3.87 million. UNICEF said the items will be used to store vaccines for around 355,000 children under one year of age and 362,000 pregnant women, it added.
UNICEF further stated that its staff will conduct regular monitoring to ensure the goods are used for their intended purposes.
Including the latest approval, the total number of humanitarian exemptions related to North Korea currently in effect stands at 22. The exemptions are valid for six months.
Humanitarian activities are not banned under international sanctions, but related materials are subject to sanctions waivers from the UN.
Last week, Pyongyang said it was experiencing its worst drought in 37 years, raising fears that crops due to be harvested next month, like wheat and barley, will also suffer.
In addition, the World Food Programme, last month, assessed that the people in North Korea have been hit by the worst harvest in 10 years, due to dry spells, heatwaves and flooding.
The report also found worryingly low food consumption levels, limited dietary diversity and families being forced to cut meals or eat less. (ANI)