In 2017, parts of DPR Korea were undergoing serious drought, the effects of which are still being felt today. Heat waves that began in early May 2017 combined with lack of rainfall between April and June triggered extraordinary dry conditions in parts of the country’s agricultural heartland affecting the development of crops, and hampering field preparation and the planting of main season crops.
Worst hit were five provinces in the southern parts of the country, North and South Hwanghae, North and South Pyongan, and Nampo City, traditionally known as the country´s rice basket.
Although the longer-term impacts of the drought are still not known, it is estimated that up to 30 per cent of early season crops may have been lost. These crops make up 10 per cent of total annual production, and are an important source of food during the annual lean season.
Without access to safe water and sanitation, children fall ill. The threat is even greater as many children face life-threatening levels of malnutrition, making them more susceptible to water-borne diseases like cholera, creating a vicious cycle of undernutrition and disease.
Drought conditions have exacerbated nutrition and health concerns. According to the Government, there has been an increase in cases of malnutrition (increase from 4 to 19 per cent) and diarrhoea (increase from 15 to 32 per cent) amongst children under five years old in the drought-affected provinces.
UNICEF’s response in DPR Korea continues to address drought-induced deterioration in health, nutrition and water & sanitation which, in combination with already depleted levels of resilience, threaten to increase morbidity and mortality of children under five and pregnant and lactating women.
Globally, UNICEF is the leading humanitarian agency on water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies, providing over half of the emergency water, sanitation and hygiene services in humanitarian crises around the world.
UNICEF is dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children in crises, who are among the world’s most vulnerable children, by providing life-saving aid and long term support.
In 2018, for East Asia and Pacific Region, covering Myanmar and DPR Korea, UNICEF is appealing for $54,592 million (DPR Korea $16.5 million and Myanmar $31,780 million).
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children 2018 appeal can be found here: https://www.unicef.org/HAC2018