Monday, 5 May 2003

Hong Kong (Fides Service) – Caritas Hong Kong has made a new appeal for aid to North Korea, hoping to collect 2.6 billion US Dollars in 12 months, to meet North Korea’s needs for food supplies, health and agricultural assistance, professional training.
Although farm production is gradually improving – Caritas Hong Kong says in a recent report – geographical disparity is marked and large sectors of people who live in disadvantaged zones still have no access to food: many families are unable to find enough food for survival.
“In July 2002 an economic reform project launched by the N. Korean government which included the abolition of coupon system rationing, caused prices to rise and a drastic change in life style: today there is a danger that only the strongest of the species can survive – Kathi Zellweger, Hong Kong Caritas Director of Cooperation tells Fides Service. This means that external aid is crucial in this stage of transition from a social-economic system of total dependence on the state to one in which people must find their own food with limited state assistance.”
Caritas hopes to collect 2.6 million dollars by 30 March 2004 for projects in 9 of N. Korea’s poorest provinces where a total of about 8 million people live: North and South Pyongan, North and
South Hwanghae, Kangwon, North and South Hamgyong, Ryanggang, Chagang. The beneficiaries of Caritas Honkong’s aid are always the weakest sectors of the population, women children and the elderly for whom it guarantees basic food supplies and health assistance, and also training courses to improve farming methods.
In detail Caritas Hong Kong works in the following sectors:
- food aid: in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme to reach 512,000 tonnes of grain necessary according toe WFP to prevent starvation. Humanitarian aid reaches more than 8,000 orphans in 39 N. Korean orphanages.
- health care: with projects linked with UNICEF, World Health organisation and the Red Cross to supply rural hospitals and medical centres;
- training of farm workers in methods of farming and use of agricultural farm machinery.
Caritas Hong Kong has worked on projects to assist North Korea since the early 1990s when the regime first allowed humanitarian organisations to enter the country suffering from serious food shortage and a series of natural disasters.
Funds in response to this appeal should be transferred directly to the following bank accounts:
Caritas-Hong Kong's US$ A/C No. 616-101094-106
Fortis Bank Asia HK, 27/F, Fortis Bank Tower, 77-79 Gloucester Road, Hong Kong
Swift Code: GEBA HK KW. Remark: North Korea
Caritas-Hong Kong EURO A/C. No. 0010009-01-8 Deutsche Bank (Asia), 51/F, Cheung Kong Center, 2 Queen's Road, Hong Kong. Remark: North Korea PA (Fides Service 5/5/2003 EM lines 44 Words: 466)