Approximately 50 per cent of Indonesia's children aged under five suffer from malnutrition, of which 25 per cent are babies under two, said a United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) official. The figure was cited by Stephen Woodhouse, head of the UNICEF for Indonesia and Malaysia in a recent interview to a news agency. It has become a national problem, the official added. The figure, representing around 11.5 million children, is an unofficial estimate based on UNICEF research and experience in the field. UNICEF has not officially updated figures on malnutrition since its last update in mid-1997, when around 750 children were reported to be dying daily in Indonesia, at least 60 per cent of them from malnutrition. But it maintains that its experience in the field since then shows the situation has worsened drastically.

The famine in North Korea has taken a turn for the worse as the government's food stock is expected to run out completely this month. This will leave citizens across the country with no option but to hunt for "alternative food' like roots for survival, a senior United Nations (UN) aid official said. "The international corn donations are feeding children but there is not enough donated grain for the country's starving adults,' says David Morton, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the nation, who undertook a two-week tour of the country with North Korean officials.

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