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Half of N. Korean population malnourished: UN report

Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang (AFP-Yonhap)
Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang (AFP-Yonhap)
Nearly half of the North Korean population, or 12.2 million people, suffered undernutrition from 2016-2019, the United Nations estimated in its latest report on food security worldwide.

At the time, North Korea was second only to Haiti, which posted the highest rate of undernourished residents globally at 48.2 percent of the population, slightly ahead the North’s 47.6 percent, according to the report compiled by UN food and relief agencies including the World Food Program.

The report found some changing patterns in the North as well, particularly for children aged 5 and under.

Just 19 percent of those children were malnourished in 2019, compared to 28 percent in 2012, whereas 2.3 percent were overweight, up from 0.1 percent in 2012.

The proportion of women aged 15-49 who suffered from anemia increased slightly, to 32.5 percent of the total in 2019 from 30 percent in 2012.

The report added that Pyongyang was one of seven countries where international hunger agencies could not obtain sufficient internal data to draw up an accurate map of the health of its residents. Others included Afghanistan and Somalia.

By Choi Si-young (