Food aid by the international community is helping avert a disaster in North Korea, but the famine-threatened communist country needs more food and medicine, U.S. Congressman Tony Hall said Oct. 17 in Tokyo.”Our food is getting through and it is saving lives, but it’s not enough. And it’s not enough at this particular point to avert a disaster that is occurring,” Hall told a news conference upon his return from a four-day visit to North Korea that ended Oct. 17.He said that he visited hospitals, orphanages and food distribution centers in Tongsin and Hamhung. It was Hall’s third visit to North Korea since last year.He said there was no food or medicine at a hospital and an orphanage in Hamhang, and he estimated that about 20 percent of the children in the orphanage might die because of malnutrition and a lack of medicine. In Tongsin, Hall said he saw several dozen sacks of food sent by the United States for children age 6 and under. “It’s saving some of the lives of the children, but people over the age of 7 are in trouble. They are not targeted (by the food aid) and they are hungry,” Hall said. As the winter nears, he said, “They need more medicine, they are going to need more food and they need blankets.” Meanwhile, he said that the North Korean authority should promote major changes in the country’s agricultural system. “They need to make changes (in the whole system of agriculture), certainly much faster than what they are doing,” Hall said.
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