The U.N. children's fund says tens of thousands of children in North Korea are at risk of irreversible damage from malnutrition because of a shortfall in funding for food aid.
UNICEF says it needs $20.4 million for its emergency response in the impoverished East Asian nation, but has so far received only $4.6 million.
Christopher Tidey, a spokesman for the agency in Geneva, said Tuesday that more than 88,000 moderately malnourished children under five risk permanent damage or even death unless they receive assistance.
Malnutrition is one of the reasons why some 11,400 children under five die in North Korea each year.
The United Nations has urged countries not to make aid to North Korea dependent on progress in talks over its nuclear program.