A non - governmental international aid agency has warned that the latest round of sanctions imposed by the United States against North Korea over its nuclear activities would create a humanitarian disaster in the country by disrupting relief efforts.Kim Hartzner, the managing director of the Danish NGO Mission East, said on Wednesday, “I do not want the poor and the worst - off of North Korea becoming the victims of the political crisis. It is very difficult to operate at the moment, and yes there have been problems in terms of bank transfers, procuring goods and whatnot. ” In March, the United States imposed new sanctions on North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank, claiming that the bank had helped fund the country’s nuclear weapons program. The anti - Pyongyang measures prohibit bank dealings by US entities or individuals with North Korea.
Referring to the harshly restrictive US measures, Hartzner said, “It is a state of extreme vulnerability, it is a state of extreme need, and if the aid agencies are not let in, if the aid agencies are not giving assistance, if there is a blockade that is going to be expanded, not only the US, if the EU were also to not provide assistance, then the conclusion is that it could have some dramatic effects on the children. ”Some aid groups in Europe have stopped providing financial aid to North Korea in the wake of the US sanctions. The United Nations says that 2.8 million North Koreans are in need of regular food assistance and that levels of chronic malnutrition in North Korea are worrisome. The UN itself has also imposed sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile tests, but the sanctions do not target humanitarian aid.