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ASIA-PACIFIC Democratic People's Republic of Korea

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-0358/Thomas

Rim Un Jong, 10, attends class at Jongpyong Primary School in the eastern province of South Hamgyong. Although primary and secondary schooling is free, deteriorating infrastructure and persistent shortages of textbooks and other materials are limiting access to education.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

The acute humanitarian needs of at least 3.5 million children and women are expected to become even more pronounced in 2010 as ongoing food shortages and assistance gaps are exacerbated by natural disasters, the global economic crisis and food aid budget cuts.  Some 40,000 children under five become acutely malnourished each year and one third of women of child-bearing age currently suffer from anaemia, a major cause of maternal deaths in the country.  The gradual deterioration and lack of maintenance of water and sanitation systems are contributing to diarrhoeal disease and acute respiratory infections, both of which are leading causes of child deaths across the country.  Although primary and secondary schooling is free and compulsory, persistent shortages of textbooks, school materials, fuel for heating and generally poor school infrastructure remain a challenge.  

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

In 2010, UNICEF will ensure a coordinated response with partners and respond to the needs of more than 3.5 million children and women, ensuring access to health and nutrition, safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene and educational opportunities. A Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey will be carried out in order to generate the data necessary to inform both policy and programme development. Following are expected results of UNICEF emergency interventions:

Health: Support for essential health services will continue, benefiting 3.5 million children and women (900,000 children and 2.6 million women of child-bearing age) in accessible counties through provision of essential drugs, de-worming tablets and micronutrient supplements.

Nutrition: Given the current malnutrition trend, a nutrition surveillance system will be developed to monitor the status of children under five and to support community-based management of severe acute malnutrition in especially vulnerable areas. UNICEF will continue providing multiple micronutrient supplements to pregnant and lactating women and behaviour change communication will further promote key caring practices such as exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding and hand-washing practices.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Provision will be made to ensure that a sufficient quantity of safe drinking water and proper sanitation will be available for up to 120,000 people, through the rehabilitation of damaged water supply systems and sanitary facilities, in particular those at schools and health facilities. Appropriate hygiene behaviours will be promoted in health centres, schools and host communities to ensure effective utilization of the rehabilitated facilities.

Education: UNICEF will continue to support hygiene and health promotion activities as well as improve the quality of education nationwide by providing technical assistance in areas such as setting standards for school readiness and development of new life-skills education materials and the construction of latrines. Children and an estimated 10,000 teachers and headmasters will benefit from teacher training activities and improvement of sanitation facilities. Continued support will be provided to the Ministry of Education and local authorities to improve emergency preparedness in the area of education. UNICEF is the only resident agency working in the education sector.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Health 4,000,000
Nutrition 2,000,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 3,000,000
Education 1,000,000
Total 10,000,000