© UNICEF/NYHQ2004-0520/Horner

A woman holds her sick toddler in the paediatric ward of the Yonsan County Hospital in North Hwanghae Province. Basic health services, especially for children and pregnant women, rely heavily on support from the international community.


Malnutrition in children, pregnant women and lactating mothers continues to be a serious concern in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a result of the floods in 2007 and drastic reductions in food imports that traditionally meet a big chunk of such deficits. Child mortality (55 per 1,000 live births), chronic malnutrition among children under age five (37 per cent) and malnutrition of pregnant women (32 per cent) remain high as a result of prolonged poverty, under-resourced health systems, decaying water and sanitation infrastructure, inadequate caring practices for young children and pregnant women, and fragile food security. Although access to education is quasi universal, the school environment with hundreds of classrooms damaged or destroyed by floods remains poor as well as the quality of education due to lack of resources and exposure. Given the fluctuating political context, the availability and quality of basic services, such as health, nutrition, water supply and education, especially for over 2 million children under age five and 400,000 pregnant women, will continue to rely critically on the support of the international community.


UNICEF continues to chair the health, nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) inter-agency theme groups. It is also the only resident agency involved in the support to education. UNICEF-supported programmes are expected to reach over 2 million children under age five, over 250,000 schoolchildren and 400,000 pregnant women.

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will provide vaccines nationwide and essential drugs to hospitals and health centres in over 100 counties covering a population of over 10 million; administer micronutrient and vitamin A supplementation to 400,000 pregnant women; and provide therapeutic feeding for the treatment of severely malnourished children in over 70 hospitals. Training will also be supported to upgrade the skills of family doctors and caregivers in nurseries in 10 counties. Information materials for families will be developed and printed to further improve caring practices for young children and pregnant women.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will support the construction of gravity-fed water supply systems providing access to safe drinking water to over 100,000 people in five county towns. Rural water supply will be supported in at least 10 communes. Ceramic water filter technology will be promoted to meet immediate safe water supply needs of 10,000 families. The decentralized wastewater treatment pilot system will be completed to provide improved sanitation to 10,000 people. Over 200 technicians will be trained on various water supply and sanitation technologies and water quality surveillance.  

Education: UNICEF will support interventions to improve quality education through technical support in areas such as mathematics curriculum revision, setting standards for school readiness and elaborating and printing new life skills education material for 8,000 classrooms. Teacher training activities will benefit an estimated 10,000 teachers and headmasters. Continued support will be provided to the Ministry of Education and local authorities to improve emergency preparedness in the area of education.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Health and Nutrition 7,500,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 4,500,000
Education 1,000,000
Total** 13,000,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other underfunded emergencies.
** 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.