From 29 August to 31 August 2016, heavy rains fell in North Hamgyong Province, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). More than 300mm of rain were reported in just two days, causing flooding of the Tumen River and its branches in this region around the Chinese-DPRK border. (IFRC, 3 Sep 2016)
As of 23 September, there have been 138 deaths reported, with a further 400 people missing and presumed dead. The number of injured people remains unknown. At least 140,000 people have been severely affected across six counties in the province of North Hamgyong in the northeast of the country. Over 30,000 houses have been damaged, submerged or completely destroyed and close to 70,000 people remain displaced. (IFRC, 23 Sep 2016)
As of 11 October, around 600,000 people need some form of assistance. The Humanitarian Country Team is supporting the Government’s response, and has released a DPRK Flood Emergency Response Plan targeting 600,000 people in: food security; nutrition; shelter; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; and education. The Country Team is requesting US$28.9 million to respond to humanitarian needs over the next six months. (OCHA, 11 Oct 2016)
Damage from the flooding included more than 35 500 houses, more than two-thirds of which were completely destroyed. Some 16 000 hectares of arable land was also inundated. Although floodwaters have now receded, humanitarian needs, particularly for basic relief supplies, remain immense in the worst-hit province: North Hamgyong, near the Chinese border. (ECHO, 20 Dec 2016)
The water purification, pumping and supply systems has been damaged by the floods, increasing the risk of water-borne diseases and significant risks of outbreaks of communicable diseases. Diarrhea and acute respiratory infections, particularly among the affected children, pregnant women and the elderly remain a concern. The Government has mobilized volunteers to assist in the rescue and relief operations as well as requested support from the international community residing in the country for roofing materials to rebuild houses, schools, clinics and kindergartens which are in short supply. (UNICEF, 30 Nov 2016)
On 19 November the Government of DPRK (GoDPRK) announced that their rehabilitation activities have been completed for the affected population. The GoDPRK reported a total of 11,928 families were relocated into new housing units and were provided with winter clothes, heating and basic household materials. The report goes on to conform that 57 kindergartens and nurseries, 13 hospitals, 18 kilometres of river embankment, 131 kilometres of road and 318 hectares of arable land have been rehabilitated. The GoDPRK reports distributing medical supplies and education materials for schools and announced that for the total rehabilitation approximately 370,000 people were mobilized (140,000 soldier builders + 230,000 civilians) from across the country to support the efforts. (IFRC, 5 Jan 2017)
The Emergency Appeal seeks 7,421,586 Swiss francs to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) in delivering assistance and support to 330,000 people (82,500 households) affected by the floods for 16 months.
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The remnants of Typhoon Lionrock passed DPRK on 29 August 2016, merging with a lowpressure front, resulting in heavy rain and flooding in the northeast and causing the Tumen River to break its banks. North Hamgyong Province was the most severely affected, with an estimated 600,000 people in Hoeryong City, Kyonghung, Kyongwon, Musan, Onsong and Yonsa counties impacted.
Almost 70,000 people were displaced, 30,000 houses damaged, essential services disrupted and more than 27,000 hectares of agricultural land submerged.
This Operation Update n° 3 gives an account of the humanitarian situation and the response carried out by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) during the period between 12 September 2016 and 12 March 2017, as per revised emergency plan of action (EPOA) with the support of IFRC to meet the needs of floods affected families of North Hamgyong Province in DPRK.
Funding constraints impact WFP’s nutrition assistance in DPRK. To stretch resources, WFP will not distribute fortified blended food to 190,000 children in kindergartens in March, while reduced rations will continue to be provided to nursery children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. WFP will provide full rations of fortified blended food during the months June-August, to mitigate the impact of the lean season. During the lean season people have less access to food.
Improvements in forecasting tropical cyclones and reducing associated hazards to life and property are being discussed at the annual meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)/World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Typhoon Committee.
The Typhoon Committee session in Yokohama, Japan, will examine the 2016 season with a view to strengthening operational effectiveness and disaster risk reduction in 2017 and beyond.
Due to funding shortages, WFP has been forced to reduce its rations for children and pregnant and nursing mothers. If no new funding is received by the end of March, WFP will have to stop assistance to kindergarten children and eventually to reduce its geographic scope in DPRK.
Nutrition assistance in the flood-affected areas continued in January and reached 30,818 people. This assistance will continue until the end of winter in March, with a 100 percent food ration.
BANGKOK, 6 February 2017 – As part of its annual global humanitarian appeal, UNICEF is seeking $42 million to deliver lifesaving aid for children in emergencies in two countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. The two East Asian countries that feature in the 2017 Humanitarian Action for Children report are DPR Korea and Myanmar, where children are affected by conflict, food shortages or natural disaster.
The impact of the 2015‒2016 El Niño weather phenomenon has been one of the most intense and widespread in the past one hundred years. The agriculture, food security and nutritional status of 60 million people around the globe is affected by El Niño-related droughts, floods and **extreme hot** and **cold weather**.
Aid organisation CARE International today issued a new report highlighting the top ten most underreported humanitarian crises of 2016.
The report, Suffering in Silence, features food crises in Eritrea, Madagascar, North Korea and Papua New Guinea; conflicts in Burundi, Lake Chad Basin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan and last year’s monsoon floods in Bangladesh.
WFP reached 680,249 people in December with nutrition assistance, including in flood affected counties.
Fortified biscuit rations were reduced in December due to projected assistance breaks tied to funding shortfalls (flood-affected areas were exempt).
The government-provided Public Distribution System (PDS) ration in December was an average of 400 grams per person per day. This is higher than the 380 gram ration in November and meets approximately 69 percent of daily caloric requirements.
Total people in need:18 million
Total children (<18) in need: 4.95 million
Total people to be reached in 2017: 4.3 million
Total children to be reached in 2017: 2.2 million
Summary of major revisions made to the Emergency Plan of Action:
This Revised Emergency Appeal seeks 7,421,586 Swiss francs (reduced from 15,199,723 Swiss francs) to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) in delivering assistance and support to 330,000 people (82,500 households) affected by the floods for 12 months. The operation will focus on health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); shelter (including household non-food items); disaster risk reduction (DRR) and National Society capacity building.
The protracted humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to be characterised by food insecurity, limited access to health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), resulting in chronic malnutrition and poor health outcomes. In 2016, life-saving interventions continue to complement national efforts to deliver basic services. In addition, recurring natural hazards such as floods and drought, including the impact of the 2015 El Niño phenomenon, have exacerbated existing vulnerabilities.
In anticipation of a break in assistance at the end of April 2017, WFP has reduced fortified biscuit rations. The reduction will not be implemented in the flood-affected areas in the north of the country.
A joint mission visited the flood-affected areas in the north in November. Needs continue to be high for essential medicines and nutritious food to prevent malnutrition and outbreaks of disease.
In 2016, EM-DAT preliminary data indicates that 301 country level disasters occurred, affecting 102 countries. The impact of which sums up to a total of 7,628 deaths, 411 million affected people, and US$97 billion of economic damages.
By Simon Nazer
Late August’s floods in North Hamgyong, DPR Korea tore the lives and homes of thousands of families apart. Flash floods washed away entire towns, buried schools under mud and destroyed water stations. Choe Un Sim was one of the many people who saw her house washed away and thought it was the end.