UN official says N. Korea needs food, medicine, clean water

Image Source: MGN

TOKYO (AP) - A senior U.N. official visiting North Korea is highlighting malnutrition, drinking water and a shortage of medicines as problems facing the country.

Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock told a news conference in Pyongyang on Wednesday that much progress has been made in the last 20 years but "significant humanitarian challenges" remain. The U.N. released a transcript of his remarks.

Lowcock said about 20 percent of children are stunted because of malnutrition, and about half the children in rural areas are drinking contaminated water. He said a shortage of drugs and medical supplies and equipment is making it very difficult to treat people.

The U.N. is trying to raise $111 million for North Korea. Lowrock said only 10 percent has been raised so far, from Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada.

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