The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for funding to assist
millions of people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),
particularly children and women, who are at risk of becoming severely
“If the funding does not arrive and we are unable to keep up our nutrition
programmes to treat those children who are severely malnourished, these children
will suffer irreversible consequences on their growth and development capacity,”
said Bijaya Rajbhandari, UNICEF
Representative in DPRK.
The agency, which has been working in DPRK for over 25 years, has requested
$20.4 million for its emergency response for this year but has only received
$4.6 million, it stated in a news release. Other agencies working in the country
are facing similar funding shortfalls.
“We must continue to address the poor public nutrition situation in DPRK in
combination with adequate health, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions
which are also underlying factors to the malnutrition situation in DPRK,” said
According to UNICEF reports, maternal under-nutrition is of great concern, as
over a quarter of women in DPRK aged 15 to 49 are under-nourished.
This puts them at greater risk of delivering infants with low birth weight who
are at higher risk of mortality and diseases, increasing widespread chronic
malnutrition with catastrophic long-term effects on children’s development.
During her recent visit to the DPRK, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos warned
that the country cannot feed its people for the “foreseeable future,” and urged
the world to step up its humanitarian support for an estimated six million
people who now depend on food aid.
Ms. Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency
Relief Coordinator, reported that the country remains “highly food insecure,”
with daily rations recently reduced, unreliable food supplies, restricted
agricultural production and many children left stunted.