NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday called for more funding to assist millions of people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) who are at risk of becoming severely malnourished.

The agency, which has been working in the DPRK for over 25 years, said that children and women are particularly affected. UNICEF has received only $4.6 million out of the $20.4 million it requested for its emergency response this year.

“If the funding does not arrive and we are unable to keep up our nutrition programs to treat those children who are severely malnourished, these children will suffer irreversible consequences on their growth and development capacity,” Bijaya Rajbhandari, UNICEF Representative in DPRK, said.

During her recent visit to the DPRK, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos warned that the country cannot feed its people for the “foreseeable future.” She also urged the world to step up its humanitarian support for an estimated six million people who now depend on food aid.

According to UNICEF reports, over a quarter of women in DPRK aged 15 to 49 are under-nourished. This puts them at greater risk of delivering infants with low birth weight, which can leave them at higher risk of death or disease.