SEOUL, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The United Nations estimated that some 6 million North Koreans will require humanitarian assistance next year as the country experienced poor harvest due to the heatwave and flooding this year.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report that humanitarian projects for North Korea will require more than $111 million due to an increase in fuel, transport and storage costs.
The Global Humanitarian Overview 2019 said sanctions imposed on North Korea have raised funding requirement for humanitarian projects.
Fewer suppliers are willing to participate in North Korea-related humanitarian projects. Money transfer through banking is strictly restricted and transport for vital humanitarian goods often experience delays to the reclusive country.
The need for humanitarian assistance in North Korea has increased as water, hygiene and sanitation standards have deteriorated. More than one-third of North Korean households don't have access to safe drinking water and recorded an increase in diarrhea, according to the report. Poor access to clean water could also lead to higher child mortality rate.
Some 10.3 million people were estimated to need humanitarian assistance this year, including children under the age of five, pregnant women, people with disabilities and illnesses, and rural populations.
U.N. humanitarian agencies have scaled down their North Korean projects with a decline in funding from $300 million in 2004 to $26.2 million this year.
The United Nations have exempted global humanitarian projects in the North from sanctions, imposed to pressure the state the give up its nuclear weapons.