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U.S. Offers Up to $900,000 in Aid for North Korea Flooding

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) --The U.S. will contribute as much as $900,000 in emergency assistance to North Korea to help cope with recent flooding, the State Department announced.

The U.S. Agency for International Development will provide the aid to North Korea’s Kangwon, North Hwanghae and South Hwanghae provinces through non-governmental organizations, the department said today in a written statement.

The pledge of support follows a $600,000 contribution made in September 2010 in response to severe flooding, the department said.

“This emergency relief demonstrates our continuing concern for the well-being of the North Korean people,” the statement said.

The new aid will provide plastic sheeting, tents and other housing needs, said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, at a press briefing today. It will not include any food, she said.

A separate evaluation of North Korea’s food shortages is still being reviewed, she said. The U.S. has been studying North Korea’s food needs for weeks in response to reports of famine.

Nuland said on Aug. 15 the U.S. must determine the extent of the need for food and how to monitor any food distribution before such aid would be provided.

“It has been the United States’ longstanding position that the provision of humanitarian assistance is separate from political and security concerns,” the State Department statement said.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at dlerman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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