Map of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
UNICEF photo: a child is held while receiving a vaccination © UNICEF DPRK/2015/Younus Child being immunized as part of the routine health services supported by UNICEF in DPRK.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

In 2016, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children aged 0 to 59 months affected by SAM who are admitted for treatment


children under 12 months and 372,000 pregnant women immunized with Expanded Programme on Immunization vaccines


people, including schoolchildren, accessed water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene

2016 Requirements: US$18,000,000

x Donate Now
Please confirm your country and we will take you to the right donation page:


Total affected population: 11 million
Total affected children: 6 million

Total people to be reached in 2016: 6.9 million
Total children to be reached in 2016: 1.7 million

In 2015, severe drought conditions in four provinces continued to affect overall food production in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In August 2015, the Government announced a more than 20 per cent reduction in crop production compared with 2014. As a result, the average Public Distribution System cereal ration was reduced, impacting the nutritional and health status of women and children. Among children under 5 years in drought-affected areas, there has been a 72 per cent increase in the incidence of diarrhoea, a leading cause of death and malnutrition among young children. Diarrhoea can cause children with normal weight to slide rapidly into severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and can cause severely malnourished children to become more vulnerable to death. There are currently 149 community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) sites operational in the country. These life-saving interventions must be continued in 2016 to complement the already weakened national capacity of health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. The 25,000 children suffering from SAM require immediate treatment. Assistance is also urgently needed to safeguard children and families whose health status and food, nutrition and WASH security will otherwise be seriously compromised.

Humanitarian strategy

2016 Programme Targets


  • 4.9 million people (including women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, lactating women and children aged 6 to 24 months) received micronutrient supplementation
  • 25,000 children aged 0 to 59 months affected by SAM admitted for treatment


  • 370,000 children under 12 months and 372,000 pregnant women immunized with Expanded Programme on Immunization vaccines
  • 1.5 million children aged 12 to 59 months dewormed twice in the year
  • 1.7 million children aged 6 to 59 months received two doses of vitamin A


  • 250,000 people, including schoolchildren, accessed water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 1 million people accessed treated drinking water and safe storage (new target)
  • 2 million people with appropriate hygiene practices

To sustain life-saving interventions, UNICEF is collaborating with multi-sectoral partners to support the Government, focusing in particular on the most vulnerable counties. To respond to undernutrition, which is an underlying factor in deaths due to diarrhoea, pneumonia and other illnesses, UNICEF is pre-positioning supplies to address the emergency needs of 25,000 SAM-affected children. To reach the most vulnerable children, UNICEF is expanding geographical access to nutrition services using an integrated package of interventions comprising CMAM, infant and young child feeding and integrated management of neonatal and childhood illnesses. By the end of 2016, 149 quality CMAM service delivery sites will be fully consolidated and sustained countrywide with integrated infant and young child feeding services. UNICEF will also focus on providing life-saving, high-impact interventions, including immunization, prevention and treatment of diarrhoea and pneumonia, as well as life-saving medications. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities will be supported in 10 counties, prioritizing the promotion of hygiene and improved sanitation in learning institutions and households. UNICEF will also continue its coordination role in the nutrition and WASH sectors to ensure effective responses as per the Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action.

Results from 2015

As of 31 October 2015, UNICEF had received 38 per cent (US$8.5 million) of the US$22.2 million 2015 appeal, in addition to US$933,964 carried forward from 2014. Despite the funding shortfall, and although planned targets were not reached, UNICEF was able to achieve significant programme results in nutrition and WASH. The nutrition programme was able to scale-up CMAM sites to 149 counties, representing a five-fold increase in geographic coverage, and reaching 20,000 severely malnourished children with treatment. CMAM is operational in 14 baby homes (orphanages) and 15 paediatric hospitals. In addition, 1.5 million children received vitamin A supplementation (99.2 per cent), 330,027 pregnant or lactating women received multi-micronutrient supplements (47 per cent), and 197,736 children were screened with mid-upper arm circumference in the CMAM counties (92 per cent reached). UNICEF also provided life-saving medicines for childhood illnesses in 94 counties. Due to lack of funding, only 70 per cent of the required medicine was procured. UNICEF reached 85,870 people (22,741 households) with hygiene promotion in 18 schools, 44 nurseries and 18 clinics. In addition, 285,000 people in 90 counties received WASH services as part of the drought response. Some 100,000 people received water purification tablets to prevent diarrhoea related to the scarcity of safe water. Due to funding constraints, only 1 million people received WASH information.

Funding requirements

In line with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea strategic plan for humanitarian assistance and the inter-agency contingency plan for responding to emergencies, UNICEF is requesting US$18 million to cover the funding gap for the humanitarian needs of children in 2016. There is a critical need to address the immediate and underlying causes of undernutrition in order to promote child survival and development. Central to this effort will be scaling up specific interventions to promote infant and young child feeding counselling, care and practices, and to strengthen CMAM services.