International charities have been forced to rethink their food strategies for famine-stricken North Korea after a country-wide survey threw up shocking malnutrition figures among young children and showed an entire generation at risk of physical and mental impairment. Until now, major charities have been looking ahead to a broader programme of agricultural development to allow North Korea to improve its ability to feed itself. But the malnutrition report may force them back to providing mass food aid instead. Kaethi Zellweger, Hong Kong-based North Korea programme co-ordinator for the international Catholic charity Caritas, said: 'Although we have plans to shift from providing food aid to re-establishing agricultural production and food security, we will have to continue providing food aid for the most vulnerable groups.' She said Caritas would issue a new North Korea appeal next month for about US$6 million (HK$46.4 million). Food aid, especially pulses and vegetable oils, would now be given higher priority as malnutrition had been made worse by an unbalanced diet.