Three million children in North Korea will have their meagre intake of food cut from Friday because foreign donors refuse to pay, an international aid worker said yesterday. Kathi Zellweger, the director of the International Co-operation for Caritas-Hong Kong, said she feared details of North Korea's nuclear programme would make donors even more reluctant. Ms Zellweger was speaking in Beijing after her 40th visit to North Korea, which took her to Kangwon, Haeju, Kaesong, Huichon, Sinuiju and Pyongyang. Caritas is one of the biggest non-government contributors of aid to North Korea. Ms Zellweger said: 'The World Food Programme is feeding about one third of the population of 22.2 million - those most in need, like children, the elderly, pregnant and nursing mothers, and those in hospital. 'This food includes locally produced high-energy biscuits, with vitamins and minerals, six of which are given each day to the children. 'But, as from November 1, the money from donors will run out and we will have to stop giving the biscuits to three million children. 'If we get no more pledges by January, 1.5 million pregnant mothers and their children will also be affected.' North Koreans receive from the government a daily ration of 300 grams of cereal, equivalent to three or four bowls of rice. They must find the rest of their diet on their own. 'Resources are going to Afghanistan and Africa,' she said. The task was made more difficult by the revelation that North Korea had continued its nuclear weapons programme, contravening a 1994 agreement. The country's main food donors are South Korea, Japan and the United States. Ms Zellweger said: 'We have a moral obligation to help. 'There is surplus food everywhere - in Japan, China and Russia, not to speak of Europe and the United States. Think how much we waste. 'I saw old women with a clothes bag picking up individual grains of rice out of the field after the harvest. They know that hard times are ahead. 'I saw the North Koreans who are struggling to make ends meet. A hungry child knows nothing of politics. Wherever I went, everyone thanked me for the aid, both ordinary people and officials.' Ms Zellweger painted a dismal picture of the country. 'The average seven-year-old boy in South Korea is 125cm tall and weighs 26kg, while his cousin in the north is 105cm tall and weighs 16kg. There is chronic malnutrition everywhere which impairs both physical and mental growth,' she said. 'There are few paved roads and almost no public transport. In health, everything is lacking. There is also a shortage of power and water management.' Ms Zellweger said it was impossible for North Korea to be self-sufficient in food. 'Just 18 to 20 per cent of the land can be cultivated. It is crucial to revitalise North Korean industry and earn money to purchase food.'