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Spokesperson for South and East Asia
Marcus Prior, a former journalist, was WFP's East Africa spokesperson before coming to Bangkok in 2010 to head up public relations in South and East Asia.
WFP and UNICEF are working closely together to assist children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
In October, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) conducted a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) screening of 180, 311 children under five years of age in 25 counties in the North and Eastern provinces. UNICEF found a GAM prevalence of 17.4 percent and 2.8 percent for SAM.
A month later, the DPRK Institute of Child Nutrition and WFP conducted a MUAC assessment among 700 children under-five in 35 randomly selected counties. The MUAC assessment showed a GAM prevalence of 14.1 percent and SAM prevalence at 1.6 percent. The results also showed that children under-2 have been hard hit and are most vulnerable, as their GAM and SAM prevalence were significantly higher, at 18.8 percent for GAM and 4.5 percent for SAM.
In response to the deteriorating situation, UNICEF and WFP are working together to ensure children suffering from acute malnutrition receive adequate and timely attention. As part of the collaboration, UNICEF and WFP jointly organized a workshop on Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), which was attended by national and international staff from both agencies. The training was designed to help humanitarian workers understand both how to combat acute malnutrition, and monitor the progress of children suffering from severe or moderate acute malnutrition.
In October, UNICEF will launch a full-scale nutritional assessment in collaboration with the DPRK Government and it is expected that WFP will participate in the exercise.
According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) undertaken in 2009, every third child under five is stunted and every fifth is underweight.
UNICEF is working in the 25 most vulnerable counties and has treated about 5,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in DPR Korea.
On 1 July 2012, WFP will start a new operation focusing on 2.4 million children and pregnant and breast-feeding womenwith targeted nutritional assistance to address hunger and undernutrition.