A U.S. ship arrived at a North Korean port carrying 38,000 tons of food to be distributed to the millions of people living in hunger, U.N. sources said Sunday.
The delivery is part of a deal signed by U.S., United Nations and North Korean officials and others, giving outsiders -- including the U.N. World Food Program -- greater access to the country.
The deal follows a Friday agreement over North Korean nuclear activities in which the reclusive communist nation handed over a long-awaited nuclear declaration. North Korea later blew up part of its Yongbyon nuclear plant.
The food and nuclear deals are unrelated, U.S. officials said in May.
President Bush responded to Friday's declaration by lifting some sanctions and removing North Korea from the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism. Watch why the agreement was important »
Under a letter of understanding, North Korea will open more of the country to aid and allow random surveys to determine whether the intended recipients are actually getting the food. Also, the number of foreign personnel working to provide food aid will increase from 10 to 60.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has 500,000 tons of food aid to be distributed. The U.S. ship, at the port of Nampo, carried the first installment of that total.
The State Department announced the deal last month and said the 500,000 tons of aid would be distributed over the next year.
Widespread hunger in North Korea has long been reported.
The World Food Program's Web site says the most recent large-scale survey, conducted by U.N. agencies and the government, "found 37 percent of young children to be chronically malnourished, and one-third of mothers both malnourished and anemic."
Of a population of 23 million, about 5 million people are in severe need of food, according to some estimates.
North Korea previously allowed food aid to 50 counties, with restrictions.
Under the new agreement, it will allow aid to 150 counties, covering most of the country.
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