Filling the gap: 2019 food assistance for young children and mothers in North Korea, Phase 1
North Korea (also known as DPRK, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) is currently experiencing its worst food shortage in a decade, with over 10 million people in urgent need of food assistance. Dry spells, heatwaves and flooding last year, worsened North Korea’s already vulnerable food situation, and led to exceptionally low levels of food crop production in 2018. The effects are now being felt as the country struggles to stretch through the ‘lean season’ until the next fall harvest. Making the situation worse, winter snowfall and spring rains have been far below average, threatening early spring crops. Public food rations are currently at the lowest level ever registered for this time of the year and there are concerns these will be reduced further. Dietary diversity is very poor and the potential impact on levels of malnutrition is concerning, with young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women being the most vulnerable. One in five children already experience stunting from chronic undernutrition.
To mitigate the impact of North Korea’s harvest short-fall by providing urgent food assistance to groups vulnerable to malnutrition.
Mission East is providing food aid (maize and soybeans) to improve the lean season diets of approximately over 12,000 young children through kindergartens and nurseries where they receive daily meals, as well as for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. This contribution to their diet will help prevent the potentially long-term physical and psychological consequences of food shortage.