UN Calls for US$111 Million to Respond to Urgent Humanitarian Priorities in DPR Korea in 2015

News and Press Release
Originally published


(Bangkok/New York, 8 April 2015) The United Nations urgently needs US$111 million to fund its humanitarian operations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DRPK) in 2015. The fund will support humanitarian activities in food and agriculture, health and nutrition, water and sanitation. The UN recently updated its plans to address these critical humanitarian needs which remain drastically underfunded.

"DPR Korea is both a silent and underfunded humanitarian situation,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Ghulam Isaczai. “Protracted and serious needs for millions of people are persistent and require sustained funding.”

Among a population of 24.6 million people, approximately 70 per cent (18 million people) are considered food insecure, and are not able to access an adequate and diverse nutritious diet to live healthily. Malnutrition rates continue to be a public health concern, with the chronic malnutrition (stunting) rate among children under five at 27.9 per cent; 4 per cent of them are acutely malnourished (wasting), according to the 2012 National Nutrition Survey.

Under-nutrition is a fundamental cause of maternal and child death and disease. Health service delivery is inadequate, and many areas of the country are not equipped with sufficient facilities, equipment or medicines. Safe drinking water and inadequate sanitation services are a fundamental problem, contributing to high and chronic instances of diarrhoea, respiratory infections and waterborne diseases. Food production is hampered by a lack of agricultural resources, such as seeds and fertilizers, and is highly vulnerable to shocks, particularly natural disasters like floods.

Funding these humanitarian priorities will enable the five UN agencies (WFP, UNICEF, WHO,
UNFPA, FAO) already working on the ground to continue programmes that provide many vulnerable people with the basics. "It is vital that donors respond quickly and generously to allow aid agencies to address the humanitarian situation,” emphasized Mr. Isaczai.

“Humanitarian needs must be kept separate from political issues to be able to ensure minimum living conditions for the most vulnerable, especially women, children and the elderly.” The commitment and support of the international community is vital. The UN needs to continue to build on positive developments, otherwise the progress made in the past decade to improve food security, health and nutrition will not be sustained. The UN will continue to work towards addressing the structural causes of vulnerabilities and chronic malnutrition through development interventions agreed with the DPRK Government.

For further information on DPRK 2015 Needs and Priorities, please visit ReliefWeb or contact the UN Resident Coordinator’s office at rco.kp@one.un.org

For further information, please contact:
Orla Fagan, OCHA Asia Pacific: fagano@un.org, mobile: + 66 89 9447623
Michelle Delaney, OCHA New York: delaneym@un.org, mobile +1 917 226 6308, tel +1 9173674568

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.