Featured Article: Providing Humanitarian Aid to North Korea
Understanding the Challenges and Stakeholders in
Providing Humanitarian Aid to North Korea
by Caitlyn M. Rerucha
There is a growing humanitarian crisis with evidence of human rights violations mounting
within the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Cooperative for Assistance
and Relieve Everywhere ranked North Korea as its number one under-reported humanitarian crisis in 2017. International politics related to decisions of the DPRK regime regarding their nuclear weapons program have led to highly restrictive international sanctions, deterioration of the humanitarian situation, and limitations on humanitarian aid for North Korean people. Immediate food and medical aid are most needed in the DPRK. Malnourishment, lack of access to safe drinking water, and inadequate sanitation and health services plague the North Korean population. Despite the obvious, current need for foreign assistance, world-wide humanitarian activities for DPRK remain critically underfunded.
There are multiple factors limiting coordinated foreign aid efforts to DPRK from international organizations, governmental agencies, and civic organizations, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The geopolitical situation related to DPRK remains fragile and difficult for humanitarian aid donors to predict. This article will not address foreign aid by donor governments, but will describe the role of the United Nations (UN), South Korean aid groups, and other NGOs that are active in DPRK and the current challenges that these organizations face in delivering humanitarian aid to North Korea. The UN is the largest international contributor of humanitarian aid…
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Major Caitlyn M. Rerucha, M.D., FAAFP, is a Medical Corps officer in the United States Army, a Board-Certified Family Physician, and a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.