What are the needs?
The food and nutrition situation remains fragile and subject to deterioration in case of shocks. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food production in 2016 partially recovered from the reduced level caused by the prolonged dry spell in 2015. Output however remains below the previous three-year average. The overall chronic undernutrition is worrying.
Furthermore, extreme weather conditions have posed challenges in recent years. In August 2016, days of heavy downpours brought by Typhoon Lionrock in North Hamgyong province triggered one of the worst floods in 70 years. The event impacted many parts of the country, particularly areas near the Chinese border, severely affecting over 140 000 people. More than 35 500 houses were damaged, over two-thirds of which stood completely destroyed.
How are we helping?
The EU has been responding to humanitarian needs in North Korea since 1995, providing €135.3 million to support over 130 projects focusing particularly on food assistance, health services and access to clean water and sanitation.
In response to the floods in August 2016, the EU provided €300 000 to enable the Finnish Red Cross (FRC) to distribute emergency relief items, such as shelter tool kits, tents, hygiene parcels, quilts and jerry cans to the most-affected families.
Through its Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO), the Commission allocated € 300 000 in early 2016 to fund an initiative focusing on enhancing the capacity of people in rural areas to respond to future floods and droughts.
Between 2014 and 2015, the EU supported a multi-country initiative, which included North Korea, implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The action aimed at increasing capacities for disaster risk reduction in agriculture. The project included information sharing, the use of good farming practices and awareness raising on core technical and institutional requirements.