The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to face regular, significant food shortages. WFP has been providing food assistance in DPRK since 1995, saving lives and making significant inroads into levels of child malnutrition.
While malnutrition rates among children have decreased in the past decade, one in every three children remains chronically malnourished or ‘stunted’, meaning they are too short for their age. A quarter of all pregnant and breast-feeding women are also malnourished. A Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) in October 2011, recommended the continued provision of nutritional assistance as a means to combat hunger and address under-nutrition among the most vulnerable communities.
Through regular visits to households, WFP has observed a marginal improvement in food security in the first half of 2012. However, the annual lean season, which will continue up to the main harvest in October, makes life tougher still as rations distributed through the Public Distribution System (PDS) are expected to decrease. Sixty-eight percent DPRK’s 24 million people receive public food rations through the PDS. Most people struggle to make up the deficit through alternative means as they do not have the necessary purchasing power.