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Major humanitarian crisis concern in North Korea warns Christian charity

by Alex Collett

The World Council of Churches (WCC) have warned of a major humanitarian crisis as a result of rising Covid rates in North Korea.

Authorities have acknowledged the deaths of at least 50 people and that 1.2 million suspected cases - almost 5 per cent of the entire population - are being monitored.

WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca said: "In a context in which the North Korean population is unvaccinated, and without adequate ventilators or other essential supplies, the risk of an unprecedented death toll is very high.

"The Covid-19 outbreak greatly compounds the pre-existing humanitarian situation in North Korea, particularly related to food insecurity in the country.

"The WCC therefore calls for an urgent humanitarian response by the international community commensurate with the gravity of the crisis,

"In particular, newly developed antivirals, such as Paxlovid, must be provided as a matter of urgency, as well as diagnostics, ventilators, PPE, vaccines and other medical needs, as well as essential food supplies," 

"We call for a centralised and coordinated approach to the international response, through the UN, and for any obstacles presented to this response by the current sanctions against the DPRK to be lifted as a matter of fundamental ethical and humanitarian responsibility."

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