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WFP welcomes Japanese donation for North Korea crisis

ROME - The United Nations World Food Programme today warmly welcomed a donation of some US$40 million from the Japanese Government to help millions of needy people in North Korea. This major contribution, approved earlier today by the Japanese Cabinet, is part of a pledge made by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in May for 250,000 metric tons of food aid to North Korea.

"WFP is very grateful for this generous support from the Government of Japan to help the most vulnerable people in North Korea," said WFP Executive Director James Morris.

"This contribution comes at a critical point for WFP's programme in DPRK. While we had hoped to feed 6.5 million people, a severe shortage of funds has obliged us to cut back dramatically. In July, we were able to provide food to only 1.8 million of the most vulnerable women, children, and the elderly," Morris said.

The food aid to be procured with this contribution will amount to 125,000 tons and will consist of wheat, rice, maize, soy beans, sugar and oil.

This year, WFP is appealing for US$171 million to feed 6.5 million beneficiaries in North Korea. Before the Japanese donation, it had received only US$28 million, leaving a shortfall of 83 percent.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.

Kaoru Nemoto
WFP/Japan
Tel. +81-35-7665211
Mob. +81-8030824868
kaoru.nemoto@wfp.org

Brenda Barton
Deputy Director Communications
WFP/Rome
Tel. +39-06-65132602
Mob. +39-3472582217
Brenda.Barton@wfp.org

Gregory Barrow
WFP/London
Tel. +44-20-75929292
Mob. +44-7968-008474
Gregory.Barrow@wfp.org

Christiane Berthiaume
WFP/Geneva
Tel. +41-22-9178564
Mob. +41-79-2857304
Christiane.Berthiaume@wfp.org

Trevor Rowe
WFP/NY
Tel. +1-212-9635196
Mob. +1-646-8241112
rowe@un.org

Jordan Dey
WFP/Washington
Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149
Mob. +1-202-4223383
Jordan.Dey@wfp.org