Caritas Internationalis has called for continued humanitarian aid for North Koreans despite simmering tensions between the two Koreas.
“Caritas is very much concerned about the present high tension between North and South after the sinking of the South Korean warship in late March,” said Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight.
“This has made it even more difficult to draw the attention of the international public to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in North Korea.”
Knight was speaking to media in Seoul on June 22 after a two-day Caritas Korea Country Group Meeting.
She urged the international community not to forget the plight of many North Koreans who struggle daily to meet basic needs.
The elderly, children and sick people in the North need outside assistance, she said.
Caritas conducted a Hepatitis B vaccination program for North Korean children in February and April this year.
About half a million children aged six to 16 in the Pyongyang area were vaccinated during that program, said Wolfgang Gerstner, a Caritas official.
“We plan to expand our campaign to 3.7 million children in whole of North Korea by early next year,” Gerstner said.
Caritas was unable to conduct its vaccination program in May as the South Korean government did not give approval for transportation.
The organization has also supplied supplementary food for tuberculosis and hepatitis patients.
Caritas officials from Germany, Japan, South Korea and the United States attended the recent Caritas Korea Country Group Meeting.