Humanitarian Action for Children 2018 - Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


Democratic People's Republic of Korea

In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, chronic food insecurity and limited access to quality health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are giving rise to undernutrition and impacting children's health and well-being. An estimated 18 million people are food insecure and 200,000 children are acutely malnourished. Recurring floods and droughts are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. Diarrhoea related to poor sanitation and hygiene and acute malnutrition remains a leading cause of death among young children. While 82 per cent of households are connected to piped water, only 50 per cent of all health facilities, schools, kindergartens and nurseries are similarly equipped. In 2018, an estimated 3.5 million people will be in need of access to safe water for drinking, washing and hygiene purposes. Due to the tense political context and the unintended consequences of United Nations Security Council sanctions, United Nations agencies and partners are facing increasing operational challenges. Disruptions to banking channels, delays in clearing relief items at entry ports, difficulty securing suppliers and a 160 per cent increase in fuel prices are further constraining agencies’ budgets and their ability to implement interventions. This is adversely impacting the survival of children who are already suffering from acute malnutrition.

Humanitarian strategy

UNICEF will continue to provide support that addresses the limited national capacities for the provision of health, nutrition and WASH services for children and vulnerable populations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In collaboration with partners, UNICEF will undertake three key strategies: building the capacities of service providers and caregivers; supporting timely and effective service delivery of essential health, nutrition and WASH interventions, especially for under-five children and pregnant and lactating women; and providing supplies in line with global standards. UNICEF will also continue to apply an integrated approach to health, nutrition, WASH and social inclusion that contributes to reducing maternal and under-five mortality, promoting early childhood development, addressing undernutrition among women and girls and facilitating equitable access to WASH services. Specific health and nutrition interventions will also be developed to build community resilience in these areas. As the lead agency for the nutrition and WASH sector working groups, UNICEF will also continue to strengthen coordination among sectoral partners.

Results from 2017

As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$6.9 million available against the US$16.5 million appeal (42 per cent funded). UNICEF and partners reached 292,283 children under 1 year with measles vaccination and 295,453 pregnant women with immunization services. In addition, 1.7 million people received essential medicines and 295,000 children with diarrhoea received oral rehydration salts. Nearly 1.6 million children received vitamin A supplementation. Nationwide, 90 per cent of children under 5 years were screened and referred to treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and follow up. In addition to the 19,000 children with SAM treated through the inpatient programme, 20,000 children in flood-affected areas received SAM treatment through inpatient and outpatient therapeutic treatment centers. The implementation of nutrition interventions and the provision of essential medicines and oral rehydration salts was challenged by the current political situation and sanctions, as well as the availability of funds and in-country cash. Funding constraints also led to significant underachievement against severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treatment targets. Targets for access to water were nearly fully met, with 160,133 people from flood-affected communities, including some 50,000 children, gaining access to clean water. This figure also includes children in health facilities, schools, nurseries and kindergartens.