North Korea opens sea route to receive humanitarian aid

Seoul, Oct 15 (EFE).- North Korea has opened a sea route on the western coast to allow humanitarian aid, marking the first known border opening after the country shut its boundaries with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The sea route from China’s Dalian to Nampo has been opened,” said Oren Schlein, the head of the Seoul Unicef office.

He was speaking during a peace conference in Incheon, west of Seoul, Yonhap news agency said.

“Some medical supplies have been shipped (to North Korea), and more will be delivered.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) also said it began shipping Covid-19 medical supplies to North Korea.

Pyongyang maintains tight border control since it closed its maritime and land routes in January 2020 to prevent the entry of Covid-19 into its territory.

The move kept the country inaccessible for overseas shipments and supplies from United Nations agencies and other humanitarian aid groups.

The North Korean regime has, so far, been rejecting any aid and medical supplies, stating that it is free of Covid-19.

The government has said it has not recorded a single case amid fears that overseas shipments might trigger the virus outbreak in the country.

The World Food Program (WFP), another UN agency, insists that Pyongyang needs to ease its border restrictions to receive crucial help to deal with food shortages.

“The WFP’s food stockpile in North Korea has already run out this year,” Marian Yun, a senior policy adviser at the UN food agency, said.

“The most important factor in North Korea’s food situation is whether or not its government approves the deliveries of humanitarian aid.” EFE


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