'Clear evidence of humanitarian need' in North Korea - UN aid chief

About 10.6 million people among North Korea's 25 million population need humanitarian assistance the UN said also noting

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

Only 10 percent has been raised so far, Lowrock said, through donations from the Swedish, Swiss and Canadian governments.

The UN's humanitarian chief, who wrapped up a three-day visit to North Korea this week, says the UN hopes to increase its humanitarian assistance to the country.

Among children under five, 20 percent have experienced stunted growth. and almost half of children in rural areas don't have access to safe drinking water.

Choi Si-young zooms in on the outcome of the first such visit in seven years.

It said it had to stop nutrition support for kindergartens in North Korea in November because of a lack of funds, while its "2018 Needs and Priorities Plan" in the country is 90% underfunded.

In a video posted on his Twitter account, Lowcock said, "One of the things we've seen is very clear evidence of humanitarian need here".

"They are keen to work with humanitarian agencies and are open to additional humanitarian assistance, and are also keen to deal with humanitarian issues separately from political dynamics", Lowcock said.

"The North Korean authority tends to exaggerate the food problem, because they are interested in getting as much food aid as possible", he said.

"So there are still significant humanitarian challenges here despite the progress that has been made", he said.

They also, he added, offered justification for the DPRK's simultaneous use of worldwide aid for humanitarian purposes and the spending of state funds on "economic development".

The number of people suffering from stunting due to malnutrition has decreased from 28% in 2011 to 20%, said Lowcock, however, the current rate is still high.

But while Beasley also emphasized the need for greater access inside the country, Lowcock said this week he feels confident in the reliability of data coming from the DPRK, and that the United Nations is "able to give people assurances that funds given to us are well spent and save lives and reduce suffering".

Lowcock and his team are expected to leave Pyongyang on Thursday.

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