Seoul, April 9 : Unicef said it has set this year's budget for North Korea aid projects at US$22.5 million, up about $3 million from last year, the media reported on Thursday.

"Prolonged dry spells, flooding and limited agricultural inputs, which led to increased food insecurity in 2019, will likely persist in 2020," Yonhap News Agency quoted the UN agency as saying said in its "Humanitarian Action for Children 2020" report, calling for further external aid to assist North Koreans.

The report said 10.4 million people in North Korea, including 2.67 million under 18 years, were exposed to chronic food insecurity and lack access to basic services, such as health care and sanitation facilities.

Among the total amount of funds requested for this year, $9.9 million was needed for nutritional support, followed by $5.8 million for water, sanitation and hygiene and $6.8 million for health related assistance, it said.

The agency has planned to provide vitamins and micronutrient supplements to 1.6 million children under five years old, give access to essential medicines to 6 million people and treat 800,000 children under five suffering from diarrhoea, among others.

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