North Korea food shortages

Pic: AP.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Food Program says it may have to shut down its operations in North Korea by early next year unless it gets more funding from international donors by this autumn.

The U.N. agency has already scaled back its planned two-year, $200 million program to feed 2.4 million people because it has only enough funds to cover about a quarter of the cost.

Its regional director for Asia, Kenro Oshidari, tells The Associated Press that to run a credible nutritional program, aimed at preventing stunting in children, it needs about $50 million more. That would target about 670,000 children aged under 2 and mothers.

He says that without a replenishment of money by November, the program could be forced to shut down operations by February 2015.