A total of USD$111 million will be required to fund humanitarian assistance in North Korea next year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report on Tuesday.
In figures released as part of its Global Humanitarian Overview 2019, the OCHA estimated a total of 10.3 million North Koreans would be in need of aid in 2019 – a figure largely unchanged since last year.
The USD$111 million would be enough to provide assistance and relief activities for six million North Koreans, it continued.
And while the number of beneficiaries of humanitarian assistance is expected to be similar to last year, the UN OCHA said the total funding requirement would likely increase.
“Humanitarian programmes are increasingly expensive to implement,” it said in the annual report, blaming the growing impact of international sanctions on operations.
“Fewer suppliers are willing to take contracts related to DPRK, and transport and storage costs have increased, as have fuel prices in-country,” it continued, saying there was little chance that “strict UN and bilateral sanctions” would be lifted next year.
Though international sanctions are not intended to impede humanitarian work, the OCHA said the measures have “unintentionally impacted humanitarian operations through disruption of banking channels, breakdown in supply chains and delays in transporting vital goods in to the country.”
Several reports have backed up claims that framework of bilateral and international sanctions hamper global aid to the North.
Internal European Union documents reviewed by NK News earlier this year also suggested multilateral sanctions were impacting humanitarian work.
August saw the UN Security Council (UNSC) agree to adopt guidelines that sought to mitigate these effects.
Although the total requirement for 2018 set by the OCHA amounted to USD$111,217,000, it said, only 23.7 percent had been covered through response plans and appealing funds, UN data said.
A total of approximately USD$31.8 million was funded for the global aid to the DPRK, with around USD$5.4 million coming from other funding channels.
The UN OCHA in 2017 managed to fund only 31 percent of its estimated requirements, an increase of four percent compared to the previous year.
“Humanitarian operations in DPRK have never received adequate financial support, with funding having declined from $300 million in 2004 to $26.2 million as of 19 November 2018,” the OCHA said.
“This has forced humanitarian organizations to scale down life-saving activities, with detrimental impacts on the most vulnerable people.”
These “most vulnerable groups” include children under the age of five, pregnant and lactating women, people with disabilities, and rural populations, it continued.
Poor access to clean water and sanitation was described as a “key factor influencing mortality and morbidity rates” particularly among children, with a heat wave and flooding this year reported to have had a “detrimental impact on crop production” and food security.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: UNICEF
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