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Map of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
UNICEF photo:  a group of women and children gather around a man in white © UNICEF DPRK/2017/Tariq A health education session is held at Hwa Sok Dong polyclinic prior to vaccination.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

In 2018, UNICEF and partners plan for:
60,000

children under 5 suffering from SAM treated through inpatient and outpatient therapeutic feeding programmes

355,000

children under 12 months accessing routine immunization

40,000

people accessing safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene messages (including families of the 12,000 children with SAM)

2018 Requirements: US$16,500,000

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Snapshot

Total people in need: 18 million1
Total children (<18) in need: 4.95 million 2

Total people to be reached in 2018: 4.5 million3
Total children to be reached in 2018: 2.2 million

In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, chronic food insecurity and limited access to quality health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are giving rise to undernutrition and impacting children's health and well-being. An estimated 18 million people are food insecure and 200,000 children are acutely malnourished.4 Recurring floods and droughts are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. Diarrhoea related to poor sanitation and hygiene and acute malnutrition remains a leading cause of death among young children. While 82 per cent of households are connected to piped water, only 50 per cent of all health facilities, schools, kindergartens and nurseries are similarly equipped. In 2018, an estimated 3.5 million people will be in need of access to safe water for drinking, washing and hygiene purposes.5 Due to the tense political context and the unintended consequences of United Nations Security Council sanctions, United Nations agencies and partners are facing increasing operational challenges. Disruptions to banking channels, delays in clearing relief items at entry ports, difficulty securing suppliers and a 160 per cent increase in fuel prices6 are further constraining agencies’ budgets and their ability to implement interventions. This is adversely impacting the survival of children who are already suffering from acute malnutrition.

Humanitarian strategy

2018 programme targets

Nutrition

  • 60,000 children under 5 suffering from SAM treated through inpatient and outpatient therapeutic feeding programmes
  • 1.6 million children under 5 provided with micronutrient supplementation

Health

  • 355,000 children under 12 months accessing routine immunization
  • 362,000 pregnant women having accessed two doses of tetanus-diphtheria immunization
  • 1.6 million children aged 6 to 59 months received two doses of vitamin A during child health days
  • 800,000 children with diarrhoea provided with life-saving essential drugs, including oral rehydration salts
  • 2.5 million people provided with essential drugs

WASH

  • 40,000 people accessing safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene messages (including families of the 12,000 children with SAM)
  • 60,000 people accessing safe drinking water

UNICEF will continue to provide support that addresses the limited national capacities for the provision of health, nutrition and WASH services for children and vulnerable populations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In collaboration with partners, UNICEF will undertake three key strategies: building the capacities of service providers and caregivers; supporting timely and effective service delivery of essential health, nutrition and WASH interventions, especially for under-five children and pregnant and lactating women; and providing supplies in line with global standards. UNICEF will also continue to apply an integrated approach to health, nutrition, WASH and social inclusion that contributes to reducing maternal and under-five mortality, promoting early childhood development, addressing undernutrition among women and girls and facilitating equitable access to WASH services. Specific health and nutrition interventions will also be developed to build community resilience in these areas. As the lead agency for the nutrition and WASH sector working groups, UNICEF will also continue to strengthen coordination among sectoral partners.

Results from 2017

As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$6.9 million available against the US$16.5 million appeal (42 per cent funded).7 UNICEF and partners reached 292,283 children under 1 year with measles vaccination and 295,453 pregnant women with immunization services. In addition, 1.7 million people received essential medicines and 295,000 children with diarrhoea received oral rehydration salts. Nearly 1.6 million children received vitamin A supplementation. Nationwide, 90 per cent of children under 5 years were screened and referred to treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and follow up. In addition to the 19,000 children with SAM treated through the inpatient programme, 20,000 children in flood-affected areas received SAM treatment through inpatient and outpatient therapeutic treatment centers. The implementation of nutrition interventions and the provision of essential medicines and oral rehydration salts was challenged by the current political situation and sanctions, as well as the availability of funds and in-country cash. Funding constraints also led to significant underachievement against severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treatment targets. Targets for access to water were nearly fully met, with 160,133 people from flood-affected communities, including some 50,000 children, gaining access to clean water. This figure also includes children in health facilities, schools, nurseries and kindergartens.

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Funding requirements

In line with the country’s inter-agency 2017 needs and priorities, UNICEF is requesting US$16,500,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 2018.8 UNICEF will continue to support life-saving interventions in health, nutrition and WASH in response to the country’s undernutrition emergency and recurrent disasters.

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1 World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization, ‘Comprehensive Food Security Assessment – WFP and FAO joint report’, November 2014.
2 As per the Socio-Economic Demographic Health Survey 2014, 27.5 per cent of the population is under 18 years of age. Based on 27.5 per cent of 18 million people in need, an estimated 4.95 million children are in need of humanitarian support.
3 The total number of people to be reached is in line with the draft '2018 DPR Korea Ne eds and Priorities' (OCHA) document and includes 1.7 million children under 5 to be reached with vitamin A supplementation, 2.5 million people accessing essential drugs and the 362,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers receiving immunization.
4 This is the country-wide annual SAM caseload/disease burden with and without complications (60,000) and moderate acute malnutrition caseload with complications (140,000) (Ministry of Public Health, 2015).
5 Projections of the Social Demographic Health Survey 2014.
6 The price for a fuel coupon (15 kg petrol) increased from US$14.57 to US$24.66 on 1 April 2017 and is still rising.
7 Available funds include US$6.7 million raised against the current appeal and US$195,952 carried forward from the previous year.
8 '2018 DPR Korea Needs and Priorities' (OCHA) has not been finalized. However, based on initial discussions, the targets and therefore the funding requirements would remain unchanged from 2017.