Since January 2020, UNICEF operated with a limited number of international staff on the ground and by December all international staff had temporarily exited the country due to continued border closures and travel restrictions related to COVID-19 prevention measures.
The UNICEF Country Office remains open and continues to support essential basic service delivery in Health, Immunization, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Nutrition and COVID-19 response despite disruptions. The Country Office is now managed remotely by interntional staff with support from seconded national staff.
There have been no official reported cases of COVID-19 in DPRK. However, strict prevention measures have indirectly impacted humanitarian operations thus reducing the scope and delivery of UNICEF’s Country Programme. Meanwhile humanitarian needs have increased and the situation threatens to reverse significant progress made on key indicators of child welfare.
In the first half of 2020, prevention measures delayed the importation of lifesaving supplies. Nonetheless, UNICEF did manage to bring in a number of critical supplies including but not limited to BCG and Pentavalent vaccines. However, from August onwards, there has been a complete suspension of humanitarian supply flows across the border.
UNICEF received only US$8.6 million from the US$22.5 million funding requirement, leaving the programme 62 per cent unfunded thus limiting UNICEF’s ability to provide life-saving services for children across sectors.
Situation in Numbers
2,670,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance
10,400,000 people in need (2020 DPRK Needs and Priorities)