UN agencies working to aid DPR Korea flood victims

UN agencies working to aid DPR Korea flood victims

United Nations agencies are continuing to provide essential support including food and emergency health kits to the survivors of severe floods which struck the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in August and September affecting nearly 1 million people and displacing almost 170,000.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the $14.1 million Flash Appeal launched in August is now 80 per cent funded, with a further $1.1 million in unconfirmed pledges.

UN agencies in the country, in cooperation with the Government, have been delivering aid and carrying out the necessary assessments to alleviate the plight of the affected population.

Rapid nutritional screening of children under five took place in 19 of the worst affected counties from 15 to 18 October. The Ministry of Public Health and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will analyze the results of the assessment and develop a response plan before the end of this month, OCHA said.

Funds from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) have enabled the World Health Organization to provide emergency health kits, and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to provide reproductive health kits to 240 health clinics. UNFPA is also working with the health ministry to develop a surveillance system for monitoring maternal deaths in clinics, with funding from Norway.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) completed the first cycle of distributions to 215,000 people in 37 flood-affected counties in the second week of September, dispatching more than 5,500 tons of food by rail and road. The second cycle of food distributions began in mid-October. In addition, the Food and Agriculture Organization is procuring seeds, fertiliser and plastic sheeting with the help of CERF funds.

Heavy rains in August were the cause of severe flooding in nine provinces of the country, including the capital, Pyongyang. At least 454 people died and 156 people remain missing.

Over 40,000 houses were completely destroyed, with a further 200,000 submerged or badly damaged in the floods. In addition, thousands of schools, hospitals and other public buildings were destroyed or badly damaged, and at least 10 per cent of the agricultural land was also inundated. Rainstorms and strong winds caused by Typhoon Wipha in September led to further severe damage in four provinces.