WFP’s current operation targets up to 1.8 million children and their mothers in parts of the country where malnutrition rates are highest. Copyright: WFP/Gerald Bourke
A severe funding shortfall for its operation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has forced WFP to reduce rations to the mothers and children it assists there. In DPR Korea, more than one in four children are stunted from a lack of vitamins and nutrients in their diet. They may never develop properly as a result.
PYONGYANG—Widespread malnutrition continues to be a major concern in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. According to the 2012 National Nutrition Survey, over 28 per cent of children in the country suffer from stunting, a lifelong condition that results when they are denied the vitamins and nutrients they need during the first two years of life.
WFP’s work in the country focuses on providing mothers and children with the nutrition they need to be healthy. It does this by providing them with specialised food products such as Super Cereal, a corn-soya blend fortified with essential nutrients. It also provides children with fortified, nutrient-rich biscuits, which are produced inside the country.
WFP is targeting around 1.8 million children and their mothers in DPR Korea, yet its operation faces severe funding challenges. WFP has had to scale back its assistance in recent months, distributing food in significantly lower quantities than planned--and in some cases, not at all.
Some $21.3 million are needed to fund WFP operations through the end of the year. Once those funds arrive, it will take several months for it to be channelled into food for the country’s schools, orphanages and nutrition centres.
As WFP appeals for the funds it need to continue assisting mothers and children in DPR Korea, here are three examples that show how that assistance improves their lives.
Children at a kindergarten
Kindergarteners in DPR Korea spend their days much like kindergarteners everywhere—playing, learning and growing. WFP Staffer Leang Hay Uk travelled to a school in Rinsan County, a part of the country suffering from endemic malnutrition, to see how WFP’s assistance impacts their daily lives. Read more
A young mother
Kyong Suk, 35, had a difficult pregnancy until she started receiving a fortified blend of cereals and milk that helped her regain her strength. The food also gave her the nutrition she needed to nurse her baby son. “Everyone was worried about me when I was pregnant,” she says. “When I started to receive food assistance from WFP, things started to change.” Read more
WFP provides specialized rations to 10,500 orphanage children living in baby homes, child centres and boarding schools. At one of them, WFP field monitor Xuerong Liu recounts meeting a boy who had clearly gone hungry when he was younger, but was still able to concentrate on his studies thanks to the food he was receiving from WFP. Read more