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ECHO Factsheet DPRK – December 2017

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  • 18 million food insecure people

  • 10.5 million undernourished people

  • 5.6 million people affected by natural disasters from 2004 to 2015

  • EU humanitarian funding: €135.6 million since 1995


According to information released by the United Nations, more than 70% of the total population (18 million people) are considered food insecure, have limited access to basic services, and are in need of humanitarian assistance. As humanitarian actors have not been able to conduct assessments in the country over the past few years, the current situation remains unclear. The country is also prone to extreme weather conditions, particularly droughts, floods, and storms.

What are the needs?

As a consequence of the international sanctions adopted against North Korea in early 2013, international bank transfers into the country are more difficult to carry out, which affect the functioning of humanitarian agencies.
The food and nutrition situation remains fragile and subject to deterioration in case of shocks. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), crop production in 2017 was severely affected by a prolonged dry spell, threatening food security for a large part of its populations. The overall chronic undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies remain worrying. Although child undernutrition has steadily declined over the past decade, additional efforts are required to improve children's condition. According to the latest nutrition survey in 2012, stunting (low height compared to age) prevalence was reported at 28%, which is considered a “medium” public health concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Recurrent natural disasters, ranging from extended droughts, severe flooding to occasional typhoons, compound the people’s vulnerabilities and need for humanitarian assistance.