A total of 3,647 people died last year among nearly 134,000 applicants registered by the government for family reunions, the ROK Unification Ministry said.
After the division caused by the 1950-1953 Korean War, thousands of families were left without the option of visiting each other for more than 70 years.
At the end of last year, the number of surviving members of these families reached up to 42,624, and nearly 66% of that amount were over the age of 80, according to statistics.
Since the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, the two Koreas have held 21 rounds of face-to-face meetings of separated families, including the last one in August 2018.
The talks were disrupted amid renewed inter-Korean conflicts following the no-deal summit between the DPRK and the U.S. in Hanoi in early 2019. According to analysts, the constant aggressiveness and political persecution by Washington and its allies against the DPRK are some of the main issues preventing progress in the inter-Korean dialogues.