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North Korea: Children

Question for Department for International Development

UIN HL1631, tabled on 20 July 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the 2014 annual report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that the number of North Korean children being treated for severe acute malnutrition increased by 38 per cent in 2014; what assessment they have made of the reasons for this; what assessment they have made of the percentage of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s budget used for the health and wellbeing of children; and what information they have about how the government of North Korea is addressing the issue.

Answered on

3 August 2015

The UN’s Needs and Priorities report for 2015 states that approximately 70 per cent of the DPRK population are food insecure and highly vulnerable to shortages in food production, which “is hampered by a lack of agricultural inputs, such as soybean seeds, fertilizer and plastic sheets”. It lists the chronic malnutrition (stunting) rate amongst children under-five as 27.9 per cent (about 540,000) and the acutely malnourished (wasting) rate as four per cent of children under-five (about 90,000).

During the Third Session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly held on 9 April 2015, the DPRK announced an overall increase in state budget of 5.5% (from 2014 figures), although no specific details regarding budget allocation were given.

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has provided funding to sustain emergency aid operations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In 2014 CERF allocated US$ 6.5 million funding to the DPRK, of which the UK contributed 24%. This included support for nutrition and food security.