This story was updated to include remarks from UNICEF at 11.36pm KST
UNICEF issued a call for $16.5 million in funding to help children in North Korea on Monday, saying the funds will help victims of last year’s floods in the DPRK’s north-eastern provinces.
The call for donations targets two countries in the east Asia and Pacific region, with both North Korea and Myanmar highlighted in the UN organization’s yearly Humanitarian Action for Children report.
“The appeal seeks support to provide essential medicines to more than 2 million children in KPR Korea, as well as funds to support assistance for other urgent initiatives including access to decent nutrition and clean water, and to safe sanitation and better hygiene,” the funding call press release reads.
The donations will be used to meet several program targets on nutrition, health, and sanitation. UNICEF wants to treat 60,000 children under five with severe malnutrition, 1.6 million with vitamin A deficiency, and supplement the diets of 700,000 pregnant women and 500,000 children between six and 23 months.
Further targets include vaccinating children against measles, diarrhea and providing essential medicines to a further 2.2. million people.
The report adds that cases of child malnutrition quadrupled after large-scale flooding in the DPRK’s north-east last year, from 500 to 2000 per month. UNICEF currently considers 4.5 million North Korean children to be at risk of chronic food insecurity, with limited access to quality health and water, sanitation, and hygiene.
“A key focus of UNICEF’s programme in DPR Korea is emergency treatment for children with severe acute malnutrition, including training hospital staff in the correct means of treatment and how best to use medicines (like ready-to-use therapeutic foods) to save children’s lives,” UNICEF representative Joseph English told NK News.
Despite the floods, the donation request is less than in 2016 when UNICEF called for $18 million. But UNICEF’s yearly overview also indicates that it’s unlikely the organization will meet its donation goals. Last year donors provided UNICEF with $6.6 million for North Korea projects, just over a third of the requested amount.
“The beneficiaries of donor contributions to UNICEF’s programmes in DPR Korea are children at serious risk and our donors understand that without their support these children in many cases would not survive,” English added.
“Although our programme in DPR Korea, has never been fully funded and we would do more with more funds, we trust that our donors understand that without their support to continue those programmes, more innocent children will suffer.”
The news comes a week after UN Secretary-General António Guterres allocated US$100 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support nine emergencies around the globe, including ongoing malnutrition in the DPRK, with $6 million going towards DPRK projects.
The call for donations also follows requests from humanitarian agencies last year for $28 million to help with flood recovery operations. Heavy rains in August from Typhoon Lionrock caused wide-ranging damage in North Korea, affecting over 600,000 people.
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Featured Image: IMG_4121 by NK10/10 on 2015-10-15 13:47:10