A third of North Korea women and young children are malnourished and the country will run short of almost 1.8 million tons of food this year, according to the UN’s World Food Program (WFP).
"Nutritional surveys conducted by the UN show that 37 percent of children under five are malnourished and one third of women are malnourished and anaemic," the WFP said.
Women regularly give birth to underweight babies and fail to breast-feed adequately due to malnutrition.
The report said child malnutrition is evident in nurseries, kindergartens and schools outside Pyongyang, with children much shorter and lighter than their South Korean peers.
"Many sit listless and quiet in their chairs or on the floor, too tired and low on energy to run around and play like children should, a heart-wrenching sight even for the experienced humanitarian aid workers," it said.
The WFP, operating with dwindling international assistance, said just 20 percent of the 6.2 million originally planned were receiving food assistance, and the WFP's current food stocks would run out in November.
A lack of fresh supplies "will not only leave millions of North Koreans at risk of hunger and increasing malnutrition rates but could put the future of an entire nation at risk," the report said.