The European Commission is to extend a helping hand to several countries in Asia, to a total of almost ECU 6 million. The collapse of the economy in North Korea has hit the population with food shortages and extreme poverty, with levels of malnutrition among children among the worst in Eastern Asia. ECU 2 million will be provided for fuel, clothes and blankets. The effects of the El Ni[currency]o climatic phenomenon combined with the catastrophic economic crisis in Indonesia have left some isolated communities in need of medical assistance. ECU 1.5 million is to be sent to assist with campaigns against malaria and dengue fever, as well as funding other medical aid and clean drinking water.

Laos, which suffered severe drought that devastated its staple rice crop this Summer, will get ECU 890,000 for food-for-work activities and enable NGOs to continue providing clean drinking water and basic...

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