UNICEF raises N.K. aid budget by $3 mln to $22.5 mln

SEOUL - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it has set this year’s budget for North Korea aid projects at US$22.5 million, up about $3 million from last year. “Prolonged dry spells, flooding and limited agricultural inputs, which led to increased food insecurity in 2019, will likely persist in 2020,” UNICEF said in its “Humanitarian Action for Children 2020” report, calling for further external aid to assist North Koreans. The report said 10.4 million people in North Korea, including 2.67 million under age 18, are exposed to chronic food insecurity and lack access to basic services, such as health care and sanitation facilities. Among the total amount of funds requested for this year, $9.9 million is needed for nutritional support, followed by $5.8 million for water, sanitation and hygiene and $6.8 million for health-related assistance, it said.

More than 200 illegal immigrants rescued off Libyan coast: IOM

TRIPOLI -: More than 200 illegal immigrants were rescued off the Libyan coast on Thursday, said the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “200+ migrants were just returned to Libya. In the past few days, six boats carrying 500+ migrants departed from Libya. Most of them were returned by the coast guard,” IOM tweeted. The rescued immigrants, including women and children, were still on the Libyan coast guard’s vessel and have not disembarked yet due to fighting in the area, IOM said. “IOM reiterates its call to end returns to Libya. A safe disembarkation mechanism is needed,” IOM demanded. Libya has become a preferred departure point for migrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward European shores.

IOM has repeatedly said that Libya is not a safe port for immigrants’ disembarkation due to the deteriorating security condition in the country.

IOM estimates that there are currently 650,000 illegal immigrants in Libya, many of whom lack medical care and basic needs.