• 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 [?]
  • 10,900,000 People in Need [?]



At least 10.9 million people in DPRK are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2019, especially food and healthcare. This represents an increase from the 10.3 million people in need in 2018. ?The complex humanitarian crisis is driven by political and economic factors, as well as natural hazards. ?

Poor governance and repressive internal political measures have had negative impacts on the people: the government’s ambitions to develop nuclear weapons have led to the imposition of international sanctions, which also affects aid. The current lack of international funding for DPRK is likely to exacerbate needs, and some agencies have already reduced operations in the country. The government also severely restricts humanitarian access. ?

DPRK is regularly affected by intense rain and flooding, or by droughts. In September 2019, tropical cyclone Lingling made landfall causing five casualties, infrastructure damage and the destruction of farmlands due to heavy rains and flooding, especially in North and South Hwanghae and South Hamgyong provinces. Up to 60 per cent of the soybean production in the affected region was destroyed in additon to damages to other crops such as maize and rice. The impact of the cyclone further aggrevated the already limited output of the country's agricultural sector that suffers from dry conditions that persisted throughout the first half of 2019. Crop production in 2019 is expected to drop to the lowest level in the past five years. ?


Latest Developments


No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

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: Chronic food insecurity, early childhood malnutrition and nutrition insecurity are widespread in DPRK. Around 10.9 million people, or 43.6% of the total population, are undernourished. ?

Health: Children under five, pregnant women, people with communicable diseases, and people living with disabilities are the most vulnerable in regards to the lack of health services. Many health facilities lack specialist equipment and trained staff. ?