North Koreans are dying at a rate that is more than 40 per cent higher than in 1994 when a series of devastating floods and famines hit the country, said Gro Harlem Brundtland, director general of World Health Organisation.

She revealed that in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, the annual number of deaths had risen to 9.3 per 100 people from 6.3 per 100 people seven years ago. Brundtland said that women, children and the malnourished were the most susceptible.

The World Food Programme has also estimated that the combination of natural calamities and poor planning have resulted in the deaths of more than two million North Koreans since 1994.

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