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2007 Flooding: Humanitarian Responses

US NGO Responses to 2007 Floods

With reports of 454 dead and 156 missing after incessant rain and wide-spread flooding affecting over 10% of corn and rice crops destroyed, the following US NGOs worked with the DPRK to respond to the crisis. Short-term aid included food, medicine, clothes, tools, water purification and temporary shelter; long-term needs will be evaluatated. Please see NGO websites for more information.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC): The AFSC worked through partner organizations in North Korea, including large cooperative farms in flood affected areas where AFSC has ongoing agricultural projects. For more information about AFSC work in the DPRK click here.

AmeriCares: AmeriCares' first container of medical supplies and nutritional goods, valued at $5.1 million, arrived the week of August 15 and has been distributed to six hospitals and clinics with which AmeriCares works regularly. Donors responded to appeals for in-kind donations of nutritional supplements and basic medicines, and AmeriCares hoped to send out the next 40 foot sea container, with an estimated value of $13 to $13.5 million, within the first half of September. For more information about AmeriCares ongoing work in the DPRK, click here.

Christian Friends of Korea (CFK):CFK shipped a 40' container to the DPRK on August 29 with over $1 million of goods to help medical clinics and surrounding communities in the flood zone. Supplies include antibiotics, canned chicken, blankets, general medicines, medical supplies, soap, hygiene kits, and similar goods.CFK worked with partners to send 2 Emergency Health Kits that will provide basic medicines and supplies necessary to treat a total of 20,000 people for a wide variety of ailments for three months, to be sent by air. Another container shipment of anti-diarrhea medicines and supplies is planned. Long-term flood rehabilitation plans included a shipment of 15 large commercial greenhouses that can be used in the short term for emergency shelter, and over the long term will allow health facilities grow more food for their patients even during the winter months. CFK is raising funds to send smaller greenhouses to aid families who lost their houses in the flood.Click here for more information about CFK programs in the DPRK.

The Eugene Bell Foundation: The Eugene Bell Foundation is provided temporary housing materials. For more information about the Eugene Bell Foundation's activities in the DPRK, click here.

Global Resource Services (GRS): A $200,000 medical shipment from Global Resource Services was sent in September, and an additional $600,000 of medical supplies is being prepared for shipment. GRS provided construction materials and developing a long-term recovery program. Click here for more information about GRS programs in the DPRK.

Korean American Sharing Movement (KASM): The Korean American Sharing Movement raised funds for relief aid such as emergency food rations, shelter materials, and medicine. KASM worked in collaboration with other aid international organizations. For more information about KASM program activities, click here.

MAP International: Medical Assistance Programs International shipped $2 million worth of medicines and emergency supplies to the DPRK and worked with partner organizations on the ground to disperse the medicines. For more information on MAP International Programs, click here.

Mercy Corps: A Mercy Corps shipment of medicines valued at nearly $13 million arrived in the DPRK on September 1. A second shipment of clothing, antibiotics, oral re-hydration solution, valued at $14.3 million, was expected to reach North Korea in early October. A four person Mercy Corps team entered North Korea on September 4 to help hand-deliver the medicines. Click here for more information.

Samaritan's Purse: On August 31, Samaritan's Purse airlifted over 75 tons of relief goods, including medical supplies, water filtration equipment, tools, blankets, and 1,000 rolls of heavy-duty plastic sheeting to build emergency shelters for thousands of families.Medical supplies included Tetanus/Diphtheria vaccines, antibiotics, rehydration solutions, and anti-diarrhea medicines from a variety of relief organizations, including Samaritan's Purse, World Vision and MAP International. The total value of the shipment was over $8 million. For more information on the Samaritan's Purse airlift and a video, click here.

World Vision: World Vision has raised approximately $6 million for flood relief in the DPRK. $2.7 million worth of medicine and vaccines were included in the Samaritan's Purse airlift on August 31. 2,000 kits worth $200,000 and comprised of flour, canned food, medicines, soap, towels, a portable gas burner, clothes, and water-proof mats were shipped from South Korea on August 20 for distribution in Duru Island, Pyongyang. 1,000 to 2,000 family kits sourced through China and comprised of blankets, tents, cooking sets, hygiene kits and water purification tablets have also been sent. $100,000 worth of food will be sent to complement WFP distributions. On September 8, an airlift of medicines valued at $190,000 arrived from Singapore. A team of three personnel entered Pyongyang on September 8 to monitor distribution of the shipments. Click here for background information about World Vision's DPRK program.

Last Updated: September 2007

Background Information on Flooding


For US NGO responses to the crisis, click here

Reports on Flood Conditions:

Heavy rain fall from August 7-14 caused extensive flooding in nine provinces in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The four most badly affected provinces, North and South Pyongan and North and South Hwanghae, known as the nation's "cereal bowl," comprise 76% of the arable land in the country. The DPRK's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the rainfall from August 7-12 was between 30 and 67 centimeters (about one to two feet), displacing nearly 170,000 people and affecting nearly one million. Over 40,000 houses destroyed, with an additional 200,000 submerged or badly damaged. 454 people were reported dead and over 4,351 people were injured. 156 remain missing. The human and material damage has been "huge," with 11% of rice and corn crops "submerged, buried or washed away." The coal industry has been affected, and the railroads have also been hard hit, with rails and retaining walls washed away, rails cut off by landslides and four tunnels submerged. On August 27, KCNA announced that the Arirang fesitval would be suspended while the DPRK people worked on flood recovery.

Typhoon Wipha: According to KCNA, from September 18 to 20 Typhon Wipha brought rainfall ranging from 76 MM to nearly 370 MM to areas already hit hard by the August rains. Rainfall in Pyongyang City was 268 MM. KCNA reports the heaviest rainfall in South Hwanghae. KCNA reports that "According to the data available, over 14,000 dwelling houses, over 8,000 public buildings and over 300 production buildings were destroyed partially or totally and deluged throughout the country. More than 109,000 hectares of farm lands went under water across the country."The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Situation Report No. 9, released on September 24, reports that international staff visiting provinces saw new damage to roads and crops. The high winds, rains and mudslides also has slowed ongoing infrastructure repair.

Assessments: On August 14 the International Committee of the Red Cross provided detailed information about the rainfall in North Hwanghae, South Hwanghae, Kangwon and South Phyongan, where much of North Korea's prime agricultural land is located. An initial UN Assessment Team invited by the DPRK government to participate in a needs assessment in North Hwanghae Province reported on August 15 "approximately 10 per cent of the population displaced, 70 per cent of the total arable land flood-affected and 50 per cent of health clinics destroyed." The assessment team identified immediate needs of food, shelter and medicines and noted that temporary health facilities were in the process of being established.

OCHA released their third situation report on August 21, reporting that multiple needs assessment conclude "the urgent need for food, clean water, sanitation, essential medicines, temporary shelter, non-food items, as well as tools and materials for reconstruction." OCHA's fourth situation report, released August 24, listed 454 dead, 156 missing, and 4,351 injured. Health assessments indicate increases in water-born disease and skin disease.Health assessments indicate increases in water-born disease and skin disease.

Four WFP "rapid assessment" teams traveled to 3 counties in 6 Provinces and conducted assessments August 17-26. The results were summarized in OCHA's seventh Situation Report, released on September 10. The assessments confirmed that "affected households. . . may have lost food stocks, livestock, kitchen gardens, and their ability to develop coping strategies to deal with food shortages during the remainder of the current lean season and the upcoming winter months." The WFP reported the DPRK Ministry of Agriculture estimate that approximately 16% of arable land has been affected, with damage to rice, maize, and soybeans, as well as other crops. The WFP raised the concern that damage to the infrastructure could impede the functioning of the Public Distribution System (PDS), including transportation of food from the "cereal bowl" to the rest of the country. The WFP assessment also observed that in the short term "homeless people are currently totally dependent upon external assistance."

The FAO also made assessment field trips, leading it to expand its immediate response,including plans to "salvage the sowing of winter crops (wheat/barley/potato). . . [and] provisions to replenish livestock."

National Response: On August 19, KCNA reported a range of DPRK responses to the flooding, including water and silt removal, efforts to rehabilitate rail roads, and repairing roads and bridges. Teams have been sent from Pyongyang to aid in rehabilitation. The DPRK Red Cross Society has distributed blankets, tents, kitchen supplies and water purification tablets to 16,000 families and Red Cross volunteers have evacuated and are aiding flood victims. Over 14,000 volunteers are distributing 23,000 family kits. The second DPRK-ROK summit, initially scheduled for the end of August, was postponed until early October to allow for recovery efforts to continue. On August 30, KCNA reported recovery in areas such as the Changwang Health Complex and Rungra Islet, as well as resumption of rail service in many sections and restoration of some sections of destroyed and submerged rail cables.

Donations, Contibtuions and Pledges: On September 24, 2007 OCHA updated its reports detailing funding provided and pledged to date. Table summarizes the total humanitarian assistance by donor. As of Sepember 24, $72,007,542 had been contributed or committed, $47.8 million or 66.5% from the ROK. On September 27, Table B reduced the amount of the ROK contribution to $8.8 million, which brings the total down to $35,949,129. Stay tuned for more explanations. The Private individuals and organizations have provided funding of $20.4 million or 28.4% of the total. Uncommitted pledges total $20.7 million and include $11.7 million from private organizations and $2.7 million from ECHO. Table A breaks down this summary and lists all contributions/commitments and pledges to the IFRC, UNICEF, WFP, UN Agencies, NGOs, etc. For the most recent OCHA tables, see their "financial tracking service" page.

International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Socities: On August 20, the IFRC issued an appeal for 6.6 million Swiss francs (US$5.5 million). They estimate that 3.7 million people have been affected by severe flooding in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), especially in South Hamgyong and South Phyongan, and in the city of Kaesong. Jaap Timmer, head of the IFRC in the DPRK said "We have at least 89,000 people left completely homeless after this disaster. . . but with clinics and hospitals put out of action and drug supplies ruined, the number of people whose lives have been impacted is far wider. . . The situation is worsening as people are falling sick due to the poor hygiene conditions."

UN Responses: On August 27, the UN announced a "Flash Appeal" for $14,102,922 to be used over a three month period. Nearly half, or $6.6 million, has been requested for programs addressing health, including strengthening the provision of basic health services in flood-damaged areas, essential medicines and medical supplies, and basic medical assistance, and another $4.65 million would be allocated for food. Funds have also been requested for education (school supplies and repair to damaged schools), agriculture (crop removal in submerged areas, provision of fertilizer, seeds and plastic sheeting to allow for "double cropping" and extension of the winter crop, and water and sanitation (chlorination and water purification.) OCHA's September 24 summary (see table F) tallies $1.7 million in committed funding and $4.78 million uncommitted funds toward the appeal.

The Ministry of Public Health is working in conjunction with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF on water purification. The WHO and the Ministry of Public Health are in the process of distributing 80,000 water purification tablets. The Ministry of Public Health is working with UNICEF to distribute essential medical kits family water kits. UNICEF has verified the distribution of 100 ri and 30 county Essential Medicines kits. 400 additional kits will be distributed in coordination with the MPH and the IFRC. The agency is procuring water purification tablets for 30,000 families and calcium hypochlorite to treat water systems. The WHO will also contribute eight medical emergency kits, each capable of providing medical assistance to 10,000 people for three months.

According to OCHA's eighth Situation Report, the WFP has distributed its first emergency food rations to 37 "focus counties," fulfilling their plan to reach 215,000 beneficiaries with a 40 day cereal ration and 90 days worth of pulses, oil and sugar. Monitoring visits to 18 of the counties took place September 4-14. The next cycle of WFP deliveries will begin in mid-October.

OCHA reports that resident UN agencies have made an official request to add eight staff to faciliate the response to the flood.

Country Responses, including Bilateral: The ROK government's initial $7.5 million in assistance included instant noodles, bottled water, powdered milk, blankets and medicine. They have now given $47.8 million, the majority ($46.8 million) in bilaterial assistance and the remainder to UNICEF. They have made a $1 million pledge to the WHO. The U.S. government announced an initial response of $100,000, which was used by Mercy Corps and Samaritan's Purse to provide antibioitics. An August 31 State Department press release stated that the U.S. government is "prepared to engage with North Korean officials on arrangements for a significant food aid package." The Australian government has pledged approximately US$ 3.3 million to the IFRC, UNICEF, the WFP and the WHO. The European Commission, acting through ECHO (the European Commission Humanitarian Office) has provided US$478,796 in biliateral assistance (and pledged an additional US$2.7 to be distributed through "international humanitarian partners already present in the field." On August 30, China announced medical assistance to the DPRK without naming a specific amount. OCHA reports that the Russian Federation has provided US$ 637,000 of bilateral assistance in the form of in-kind relief items. OCHA's September 5 update lists the United Kingdom as pledging US$ 1 million to UNICEF and the WFP for emergency assistance, US$100,00 to coordinate UN operations in the DPRK, and US$ 304,000 to NGOs. The government of Germany will provide US$ 547,000, US$109,000 to be distributed through the DPRK RCS, and US$ 437,000 through the German NGO German Agro Action.

Last updated September 27, 2007