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Map of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
UNICEF photo: a mother holds her young child while a health worker administers vitamin A © UNICEF DPRK/2016/Simon In November 2016, a child receives vitamin A supplementation during a UNICEF health day intervention.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:
60,000

children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treated

368,000

children immunized against measles

60,000

people accessing safe drinking water and sanitation and hygiene (including 15,000 families of SAM children)

2017 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 2017: 4.3 million3
Total children to be reached in 2017: 2.2 million

The humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is characterized by chronic food insecurity and limited access to quality health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, which have resulted in chronic undernutrition and poor health outcomes. An estimated 18 million people are food insecure and 200,000 children are affected by acute malnutrition.4 Recurring natural disasters such as flooding and drought have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities. In August 2016, heavy rains from Typhoon Lionrock in North Hamgyong Province resulted in widespread flooding and the destruction of infrastructure, livestock and crops, affecting more than 600,000 people.5 Children, pregnant women and lactating mothers are facing an increased risk of water-borne diseases – with a four-fold increase in diarrhoea – as well as communicable disease outbreaks. The number of children suffering from acute malnutrition in flood-affected areas who are in need of life-saving treatment every month has quadrupled from 500 to 2,000. It is expected that the current situation will persist through 2017. The Government has urgently requested the support of the international community to meet humanitarian needs.

Humanitarian strategy

2017 programme targets*

Nutrition

  • 60,000 children under 5 with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treated6
  • 1.6 million children received vitamin A supplementation
  • 700,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers received multi-micronutrient supplementation
  • 500,000 children aged 6 to 23 months received multi-micronutrient supplementation

Health

  • 368,000 children immunized against measles
  • 300,000 children with diarrhoea accessing life-saving medicines
  • 2.2 million people accessing essential medicine

WASH

  • 60,000 people accessing safe drinking water and sanitation and hygiene (including 15,000 families of SAM children)
  • 20,000 people accessing safe drinking water

*Targets for the flood response from January 2017 onwards have been integrated and are reflected above.

To address limited access to quality health and WASH services in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, UNICEF is supporting service delivery through the provision of life-saving supplies for children and women. Using the 'first 1,000 days of life’ approach, UNICEF will integrate interventions in nutrition, health and WASH to improve child well-being. Integrated services will contribute to reducing maternal and under-five mortality, promoting early childhood development, addressing undernutrition among women and girls, facilitating equitable access to WASH services and building community resilience. In 2017, health and nutrition programmes will reach 50 counties with life-saving interventions. UNICEF will also work to strengthen the availability and quality of child-related data, which will be critical to identifying and reaching most at-risk children. UNICEF will continue to coordinate the response in the nutrition and WASH sectors and co-lead the health sector.

Results from 2016

As of October 31 2016, UNICEF had received US$6.8 million against the US$27.8 million appeal (25 per cent funded).7 UNICEF and partners reached 250,385 children under 1 year with Expanded Programme on Immunization vaccines and 255,049 pregnant women received two doses of the booster vaccine for tetanus. Children received multi-micronutrient supplementation and mothers received information on good hygiene practices and access to safe water. UNICEF and partners also contributed to the response to Typhoon Lionrock through the distribution of pre-positioned emergency relief stocks. Twenty temporary health clinics and 24 inter-agency emergency health kits were provided to support the restoration of primary health care services. Water filters, water purification tablets, soaps and buckets were distributed to more than 91,000 people. About 6,000 malnourished children were treated in the sites for community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) in the six affected counties. Multi-micronutrient supplements and vitamin A were also provided to 100,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers and children aged 6 to 23 months.

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Funding requirements8

Given the current situation in the country, fundraising for UNICEF Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains a challenge. In line with the country's inter-agency 2017 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Needs and Priorities Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$16.5 million to meet the humanitarian needs of children and women in 2017. This includes a portion of flood response requirements from January through April 2017. With the requested funding, UNICEF will continue to support life-saving interventions in health, nutrition and WASH in response to recurrent disasters and the ongoing humanitarian situation, and support programming for the national response to the country’s undernutrition emergency.

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1 World Food Programme and 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. Therefore, 27.5 per cent of 18 million in humanitarian need is 4.95 million children in need of humanitarian support.
3 The total people to be reached in 2017 is based on the 2017 targets, namely the 1.6 million children under 5 to receive vitamin A supplementation, the 2.2 million people accessing essential medicine and the 700,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers receiving multi-micronutrient supplementation.
4 This is the annual caseload/disease burden of SAM with and without complications (60,000) and moderate acute malnutrition with complications (140,000) countrywide (Ministry of Public Health, 2015).
5 Interagency needs assessment co-led by UNICEF. See: www.unocha.org/top-stories/all-stories/dprk-us282-million-urgently-needed-provide-immediate-assistance-600000-peopl, accessed 12 December 2016.
6 This figure represents about 80 per cent of the annual caseload/disease burden of SAM with and without complications countrywide, and is a subset of the overall 2017 SAM target by UNICEF based on 2015 CMAM data projections.
7 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$6.6 million and US$219,500 carried forward from the previous year.
8 The appeal in Humanitarian Action for Children 2017 supersedes the revised appeal in Humanitarian Action for Children 2016 as of 1 January 2017.
9 This total funding needs and targeted beneficiaries include the pro-rated flood response.