Seoul, Feb 23 (IANS) The World Food Programme (WFP) could suspend its operations in North Korea this year as restrictions on imports remain in place due the coronavirus pandemic, a report on its website showed on Tuesday.
According to the report, the UN aid agency has continued to be faced with difficulties in deploying its staff in the North, with its physical monitoring activities being curtailed for a prolonged period of time, Yonhap reported.
"Pandemic-related restrictions do not ease and food imports, international staff deployments and physical monitoring access remain curtailed for a prolonged period," the WFP said.
"WFP will opportunistically use windows in which food imports are allowed to replenish and optimize in-country stocks and mitigate against import delays. However, there is a significant residual risk that, should food imports not be possible, operations will cease in 2021," it added.
Humanitarian aid efforts in the North have been severely hampered due to Pyongyang's tightened border controls put in place since early last year, though it has claimed to be coronavirus-free.
North Korea has rejected outside help on worries that any inbound shipments could bring about an outbreak of the highly contagious disease.
Border closures coupled with damage to farming areas inflicted by back-to-back typhoons and flooding last summer have raised concerns over worsening food shortages in the impoverished state.
North Korea is believed to be faced with a food shortage of about 1.2 million to 1.3 million tons this year. The unification minister earlier said that the ministry is exploring various ways to provide food and fertilizers to North Korea in humanitarian assistance.
New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Oil marketing companies have spared consumers of yet another petrol and diesel price hike even though the global oil market is on the boil with crude reaching within touching distance of year-high-level of $70 a barrel.
Petrol continues to be priced at Rs 91.17 a litre and diesel Rs 81.47 a litre in the capital on Saturday. Across the country too, the petrol and diesel price remained unchanged.
This is seventh consecutive day when pump prices of auto fuels have remains unchanged.
After a spike in global oil prices seen over last two weeks with crude price jumping close to $67 a barrel, prices had fallen to around $63 a barrel but it rose again to cross $69 a barrel mark now after after the OPEC+ decision to continue with crude production cut in April.
Petrol and diesel prices have been rising continuously since February 9. In the 14 increases since then, price have gone up by Rs 4.22 per litre for petrol while diesel rate has risen by Rs 4.34 a litre in Delhi.
The increase in the previous weeks has taken petrol to cross historic high levels of Rs 100 a litre in several cities across the country.
The petrol and diesel prices have increased 26 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.46 and Rs 7.60 per litre, respectively so far this year.
Oil companies executives said that petrol and diesel prices may increase further in coming days as retail prices may have to be balanced in line with global developments to prevent OMCs from making loss on sale of auto fuels.