UNICEF Asks Donors To Fully Fund Request To Assist North Koreans Facing Malnutrition

“Millions of children and women of child-bearing age in North Korea face malnutrition which can leave them at higher risk of death or disease, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. UNICEF urged donors to fill a funding gap to prevent a “nutrition crisis” in the country, the news agency states (Nebehay, 11/1). According to Agence France-Presse, “UNICEF had asked for $20.4 million for 2011, but has received just $4.6 million” (11/1).

In a statement, Bijaya Rajbhandari, UNICEF representative in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), said, “If the funding does not arrive and we are unable to keep up our nutrition programs to treat those children who are severely malnourished, these children will suffer irreversible consequences on their growth and development capacity. … We must continue to address the poor public nutrition situation in DPRK in combination with adequate health, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions which are also underlying factors to the malnutrition situation in DPRK” (11/1). UNICEF spokesperson Chris Tidey said one in five North Korean children under age five suffers from moderate malnutrition, based on a December 2010 survey, according to Reuters (11/1).