According to the 2019 WFP/FAO joint rapid food security assessment, prolonged dry spells, abnormally hot temperatures and floods, coupled with limited supplies of agricultural inputs, severely impacted yields of the 2018 main crops and early season crops to be harvested in 2019. Although it was anticipated this may have a direct negative impact on the already projected caseload of 140,000 under-five children suffering from acute malnutrition, at the time of writing, available data shows no evidence of a deteriorating nutrition situation among children underfive years. Furthermore, Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) screening data for 1.5 million under-five children during the May 2019 Child Health Days event provided a snapshot of 3.6 per cent acute malnutrition among screened children. Without MUAC screening data from previous rounds, trend analysis could not be made at this time. UNICEF is closely monitoring and coordinating with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), WFP and other partners.
• As of 30 June 2019, UNICEF and partners reached 3.2 million people with essential medicines and 299,000 children with diarrhoea received oral rehydration salts.
• About 43,788 acutely malnourished children (21,699 SAM and 22,089 MAM) were referred for treatment under the inpatient and outpatient nutrition programmes.
• Nearly 1.5 million under-five children, including 498,000 children aged 6-23 months, received vitamin A supplementation with multiple micronutrient powder for their home food fortification.
• About 158,515 people were provided with access to safe drinking water through construction and rehabilitation of six water supply systems.
• Only 33 per cent of HAC requirements are currently funded, resulting in difficulties to provide life-saving services for children across sectors. Because of underfunding and low investment in basic services, gains made in recent past will be offset. Additional pressure will be put on the health system and underlying causes of malnutrition will be exacerbated.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
# of children in need of humanitarian assistance
# of people in need (DPRK 2019 Needs and Priorities Plan)
UNICEF Appeal 2019
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The WFP/FAO Joint Rapid Food Security Assessment carried out in April highlights prolonged dry spells, abnormally hot temperatures and floods, coupled with limited supplies of agricultural inputs, had a severe impact on yields of the 2018 main crops. Since January, rations of the Public Distribution System (PDS) have been reduced to 300 grams per person per day (g/pp/day), which compares to 380 grams during the same period in 2018. Overall, the report estimates that 10.1 million people (40 percent of the population) are food insecure and in urgent need of food assistance, and that vulnerable pregnant women and children under five will be further exposed to the threat of acute malnutrition. According to May precipitation data, seven provinces in the country received less than 50 per cent of average annual precipitation which has a direct impact on availability of sufficient quantity of clean and safe drinking water elevating the risk of consuming contaminated water. Essential medicines and equipment continue to remain limited and do not meet the needs.
Although geopolitical tensions on the peninsula have abated, humanitarian funding continues to be low and agencies find themselves unable to fully address the current needs. Despite the positive experience in obtaining expedited sanctions clearance for importation of supplies in April 2019, requests by transit countries for additional sanctions-related import waivers are still leading to considerable delays in the delivery of interventions. In addition, banking channels remain suspended since 2017 resulting in limited cash availability in-country for operational costs. These factors have compounded the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in which the delivery of basic humanitarian interventions crucial to safeguarding the lives of children and women continue to be seriously compromised.