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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
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Brenda Barton
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Gregory Barrow
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Christiane Berthiaume
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Trevor Rowe
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Jordan Dey
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