© UNICEF/HQ07-0370/Thomas

A state-run orphanage in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Recent massive flooding in the country has increased children’s vulnerability to nutrition- and disease-related health problems.


The devastation caused by the floods in 2007 has further increased the vulnerability of children despite the progress made over the last decade in areas such as the reduction of severe child malnutrition. The latest figures for child mortality (55 per 1,000 live births), chronic malnutrition of under-five children (37 per cent) and malnutrition of pregnant women (32 per cent) remain high as a result of prolonged poverty, underresourced health systems, decaying water and sanitation systems, inadequate caring practices of young children and pregnant women and fragile food security. Though access to education is quasi universal, the quality of education and the school environment, with hundreds of classrooms damaged or destroyed by floods, remain poor due to lack of resources and exposure. Despite improvements in the political context, the availability and quality of basic social services in health, nutrition, water supply and education for women and children, especially for over 2 million under-five children and 300,000 pregnant women, will continue to rely critically on the support of the international community over the coming years.


UNICEF is the chair of the health and nutrition and the water, sanitation and hygiene inter-agency theme groups. It is also the only resident agency involved in the support to education in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea). UNICEF-supported programmes are expected to reach over 2 million under-five children, over 250,000 schoolchildren and 400,000 pregnant women in 2008.

Health and nutrition: UNICEF will provide vaccines nationwide, essential medicines to hospitals and health centres in 102 counties, covering a population of over 8 million; administer multi-micronutrient and vitamin A supplementation to 300,000 pregnant women; support therapeutic feeding for the treatment of severely malnourished children in 102 counties; and train household doctors in at least 10 counties.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: UNICEF will provide spare parts and chlorine to repair pumps and treat water for over 10 million people living in provincial cities and 89 flood-affected counties; construct new water supply systems in eight county towns providing safe water to an estimated 160,000 people; rehabilitate water and sanitation facilities and support hygiene promotion in at least 20 child-care institutions benefiting 10,000 children; strengthen the capacity of technicians from six provinces on water quality monitoring and emergency preparedness.

Education: To improve the quality of education, UNICEF will provide technical support in areas such as mathematics curriculum revision, setting standards for school readiness, and elaborating and printing new life skills materials; rehabilitate selected schools in focus counties, benefiting over 16,000 children, train an estimated 10,000 teachers and headmasters on child-friendly methodologies; distribute new life skills materials to 8,000 classrooms; and support the Ministry of Education and local authorities to improve emergency preparedness in the area of education.

Summary of UNICEF financial needs for 2008
Sector US$
Health and nutrition 8,000,000
Water, sanitation and hygiene 6,000,000
Education 1,000,000
Total* 15,000,000

* The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.