News

 

DATE=  11/11/97

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-222506

TITLE=NORTH KOREA / HUNGER (L-O)

BYLINE=BILL RODGERS

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT: 



INTRO:  A GROUP OF AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS THAT HAS JUST 

RETURNED FROM NORTH KOREA SAYS MORE HUMANITARIAN AID IS NEEDED TO

FEND OFF HUNGER AND DISEASE IN THE COMMUNIST NATION.  AS V-O-A'S 

BILL RODGERS REPORTS, GROUP MEMBERS SPOKE AT A WASHINGTON NEWS 

CONFERENCE TUESDAY ABOUT WHAT THEY SAW DURING THEIR FOUR-DAY 

VISIT.



TEXT:



                      /// SCHINDLER ACT///



         WE HAVE LEARNED THIS ABOVE ALL -- THERE IS PRECIOUS 

         LITTLE TIME LEFT TO AVERT WHAT COULD BE A HIDEOUS AND 

         UNPRECEDENTED DISASTER.



                          // END ACT //



WITH THESE OMINOUS WORDS, RABBI ALEXANDER SCHINDLER OF THE 

"INTERFAITH HUNGER APPEAL" DESCRIBED THE DIRE SITUATION IN NORTH 

KOREA, WHICH HAS BEEN PLAGUED BY FAMINE.  RABBI SCHINDLER AND 

NINE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE INTERFAITH HUNGER APPEAL SPENT FOUR 

DAYS IN NORTH KOREA EARLIER THIS MONTH TO SEE THE EXTENT OF THE 

DEVASTATION CAUSED BY SUCCESSIVE YEARS OF FLOOD AND DROUGHT.  



SPEAKING AT A NEWS CONFERENCE TUESDAY IN WASHINGTON, RABBI 

SCHINDLER DESCRIBED WHAT HE AND THE OTHERS SAW.



                       ///SCHINDLER ACT///



         AS WE PASSED SCORES OF FACTORIES WHOSE SMOKESTACKS WERE 

         OPEN-THROATED AND SPARKLESS, WE SAW ONLY THE STARVATION 

         BROUGHT ON BY A DECAYING ECONOMY.  WE SAW RUSTING 

         TRACTORS, PLOUGHS PULLED BY OXEN, AND PEOPLE SCRATCHING 

         THE SOIL WITH THEIR FINGERNAILS TO MAKE ANOTHER SQUARE 

         FOOT OF DIRT ARABLE.  WE SAW VAST FIELDS -- FIRST 

         RAVAGED BY TYPHOONS AND TIDAL WAVES, THEN BURNT BY 

         DROUGHT, LEAVING THE LAND UNTILLABLE FOR ANOTHER THREE 

         YEARS.



                          ///END ACT///



THE INTERFAITH HUNGER APPEAL IS A NON-DENOMINATIONAL RELIGIOUS 

GROUP, FORMED ALMOST 20 YEARS AGO TO CHANNEL FOOD AND OTHER 

HUMANITARIAN AID TO COUNTRIES IN NEED.  THE GROUP HAS PROVIDED 

TWO-AND-ONE-HALF MILLION DOLLARS IN ASSISTANCE TO NORTH KOREA AND

MAINTAINS A REPRESENTATIVE IN PYONGYANG TO OVERSEE THE AID.  



THE CHAIRMAN OF THE ORGANIZATION, KEN HACKETT, TOLD REPORTERS HE 

BELIEVES THE PARTICIPATION OF HUMANITARIAN GROUPS SUCH AS HIS HAS

BROUGHT ABOUT A CHANGE IN NORTH KOREA, WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST 

ISOLATED COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.



                        ///HACKETT ACT///



         WE DO SENSE A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN ATTITUDE AND IN SOME

         WAYS AN OPENNESS.  EVEN IN THE THREE MONTHS OUR 

         REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN IN THERE, HE HAS NOTED AN EASING

         UP, A CHANGE, AN ABILITY TO CARRY ON A FULLER DIALOGUE 

         AND GAIN MORE ACCESS.



                          ///END ACT///



MR. HACKETT SAID HIS GROUP WILL URGE CHURCHES AND SYNAGOGUES 

THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES TO PROVIDE MORE EMERGENCY AID TO 

HELP THE NORTH KOREAN PEOPLE.  HE SAID THE INTERFAITH HUNGER 

APPEAL ALSO FAVORS LIFTING SANCTIONS AND TAKING OTHER MEASURES TO

EASE TENSIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND NORTH KOREA AS A WAY 

TO END THE ISOLATION OF THE COMMUNIST NATION AND HELP ITS 

STRICKEN PEOPLE. (SIGNED)



NEB/BR/RRM     



11-Nov-97 3:53 PM EST (2053 UTC)

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Source: Voice of America

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