Child malnutrition rate most acute in Ryanggang Province, WFP reports

North Korea’s Ryanggang Province
has the highest number of children suffering from malnutrition in the country, reported U.S.-based Voice of America, citing the recently released United Nations World Food
Programme (WFP) report.

The World Food Program conducted the nutrition survey last year for children
between the ages of six months and five years in 85 cities and 8 provinces
across North Korea. Jagang Province was excluded as survey teams were
disallowed from the region on account of its high concentration of military
facilities.

According to the report, released on June 27, 32 percent of North Korean
children residing at child care centers in Ryanggang Province were found to be
malnourished and underdeveloped. This marked the highest rate among the
provinces surveyed for the report. 

The average percentage of malnutrition for North Korean children under the age
of five is 25.4 percent, according to the World Food Programme. The same
percentage applies to the portion of underdeveloped children at child care centers
in North Korea receiving food aid from the World Food Programme. 

Ryanggang Province also has the highest number of underweight children at
12.2 percent. However, South Pyongan Province’s malnutrition rate was 19.8%, 6 percent
lower than the average; the rate of underweight children in the southern
province was also the lowest of those surveyed, standing at 7.5 percent.

South Hamgyong Province trailed slightly behind Ryanggpang Province at 27.1
percent, North Pyongan Province at 26.3 percent, North Hwanghae Province at
25.7 percent, and North Hamgyong Province at 25.5 percent. Kangwon Province, South
Hwanghae Province, and South Pyongan Province came in at relatively lower
malnutrition rates, at 24.4 percent, 22.4 percent and 19.8 percent,
respectively.

Additionally, daily intake of protein and fat for North Korea’s overall
population was reported to range between 70 and 85 percent relative to
international standards. Those residing in rural areas of North Korea are more
seriously affected than those in more urban areas.

In response to these findings, the WFP plans to conduct a nutritional
assistance project for 1.7 million North Koreans across 60 cities and eight
provinces. The two- and-a-half year program is slated to start next month. 

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