• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 25,550,000 Total population [?]
  • 25,550,000 People affected [?]
  • 10,429,000 People in Need [?]



The humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is driven by political and economic factors as well as natural hazards. Chronic food insecurity and limited access to basic services such as healthcare and clean water have left more than 10 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.?

Poor governance and repressive internal political measures have negatively impacted the population by restricting movement and access to goods and services, including humanitarian aid. Despite exemptions for humanitarian aid, international sanctions have caused shortages of funding, supplies, and humanitarian personnel, delaying project implementation.?

DPRK is regularly affected by intense seasonal rain and flooding. In August and September 2020, it experienced one of its wettest periods since 1981. The main agricultural producing area, the south, was severely affected by flooding, which disrupted the harvesting season. It remains unclear as to what extent this will impact food security across DPRK. In September 2019, Tropical Cyclone Lingling destroyed farmlands in North and South Hwanghae and South Hamgyong provinces, the same areas affected by the 2020 flooding. The impact of natural hazards contributes to high food insecurity in the country.?

INFORM considers DPRK to be at a high risk of humanitarian crisis with a score of 5.2/10. Lack of coping capacity is the biggest concern with a score of 6.5/10.

Latest Developments


There are no significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.


Humanitarian Access


Very high constraints

Overall humanitarian access is limited, though improvements have occurred since 2018. All 11 provinces in DPRK are accessible to international staff, although tight restrictions exist for Jagang province. Travel and humanitarian activities remain highly regulated by national authorities. International humanitarian agencies, as well as DPRK nationals, are required to obtain advance clearance for travel outside Pyongyang and international staff must always be accompanied by DPRK nationals. Itineraries must be planned in advance for authorisation and the location of new projects discussed with the government. Economic sanctions, particularly United Nations, and bilateral US secondary sanctions, have restricted the import of humanitarian goods and complicated the funding of humanitarian projects. Road quality outside Pyongyang is of varying quality and flooding caused by the monsoon season further hindered access. 

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Key Priorities


Food: 10.1 million people (39% of the population) are food insecure due to insufficient agricultural production, inability to access a diversity of food, inadequate food utilisation and recurrent natural disasters.?

Health: 8.7 million people lack access to adequate health facilities. Equipment, medicines and specialist staff are particularly lacking for the needs of children under five, pregnant women, people with communicable diseases, and people living with disabilities.?

WASH: 8.4 million people lack access to safe water sources. Basic sanitation facilities are a high priority – especially in rural areas, where 9 in 10 people lack facilities for safe disposal of human waste.?