CRS History in North Korea
CRS worked in Korea from 1945-1975. Activities in North Korea began in 1995 after the North Korean Government appealed to the international community for humanitarian assistance following a series of major natural disasters. The devastation caused by the floods and droughts that struck North Korea in the mid-1990s, coupled with the environmental degradation and economic problems caused by the end of the Cold War, touched off a famine in the country.
In response, CRS helped the Caritas network provide food and other humanitarian aid to North Korea. In 1997, the agency assumed a leadership role in a consortium of aid agencies that directly distributed food aid inside North Korea. By 2000, CRS had turned its attention to supporting the EBF health program with the understanding that the key challenges facing North Korea would be rehabilitation and long-term development assistance, in addition to emergency relief.
CRS does not currently have an office in North Korea. Staff in Jakarta, Indonesia oversees activities in the country.