UN humanitarian chief highlights protracted humanitarian needs in DPR Korea
(Pyongyang, 12 July 2018): United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Mark Lowcock, today concluded his first mission to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK.)
The mission highlighted the pervasive humanitarian challenges in the country. “During my mission to the DPRK, I saw first-hand how relatively small amounts of humanitarian assistance are making a real difference in many people’s lives,” Lowcock said. “Data on needs is improving, thanks to survey work supported by UNICEF and others, and the access of UN staff to monitor aid delivery and impact around the country has improved.”
During the mission, Mr Lowcock visited South Hwanghae Province to see first-hand the impact of UN programmes. At a cooperative farm, he saw how international organizations are seeking to address the issue of chronic food insecurity by helping communities mitigate the impacts of recurrent drought and other natural disasters. He also visited a factory that produces fortified-food and a nursery where children are provided with nutritious food to protect against malnutrition. An estimated 10 million people in the country are undernourished, and as a result one in five children is stunted.
Pregnant women, young children and people living with diseases and disabilities often struggle to access the care they need. Mr Lowcock visited hospitals supported by UN agencies, as well as a programme supporting people living with disabilities.
In March 2018, humanitarian agencies working in DPRK requested $111 million to provide six million of the most vulnerable people in the country with humanitarian support. Funding is needed to help four million people with food assistance, two million people with health and nutrition services, and better access to clean water for over 350,000 people. Four months after the plan was released, little more than 10 per cent of the required funding has been received. This follows years of declining funding for humanitarian programmes in DPRK.
“The projects we visited showed how vital humanitarian assistance is to vulnerable people. I am concerned that declining funding is putting the lives of ordinary people at risk. Agencies have had to scale back their activities. Without adequate funding, they will not be able to treat malnourished children, provide life-saving vaccinations or supply drugs to treat people with tuberculosis and prevent the spread of the disease”, Mr Lowcock said.
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