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UN on North Korea: 1 in 5 Children Are Stunted

And 43% of the population is undernourished
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 7, 2019 2:17 AM CST
In this June 13, 2018 photo, a farmer spreads fertilizer on a rice field in Sariwon, North Korea.   (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)
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(Newser) – An estimated 11 million people in North Korea—over 43% of the population—are undernourished and "chronic food insecurity and malnutrition is widespread," according to a United Nations report issued Wednesday. The report by Tapan Mishra, the head of the UN office in North Korea, said that "widespread undernutrition threatens an entire generation of children, with one in five children stunted due to chronic undernutrition." With only limited health care and a lack of access to clean water and sanitation, "children are also at risk of dying from curable diseases," the report added. Mishra said that last year's UN appeal for $111 million to help 6 million of North Korea's most vulnerable people was only 24% funded, one of the lowest levels in the world.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric says the UN humanitarian team in the country is calling for $120 million "to urgently provide life-saving aid to 3.8 million people," the AP reports. Mishra's report said North Korea faces annual shortfalls in agricultural production because of a shortage of arable land, lack of access to modern agricultural equipment and fertilizers, and recurrent natural disasters. While UN Security Council sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs are supposed to exempt humanitarian activities, "humanitarian agencies continue to face serious unintended consequences on their programs," Mishra said.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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