ACT Appeal DPRK Relief & Rehabilitation: ASKP-01

Originally published


Total Appeal Target: US$ 2,753,000
Geneva, 16 February 2000

Dear Colleagues,

A sharp decline in the economic sector caused largely by the inability of the economic system to adapt to the changing frame conditions, continues to cause immense suffering and distress to the common people throughout the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The series of natural disasters in recent years has further exacerbated the situation.

Although the food situation has improved since 96/97, considered as the peak of the crisis, the overall situation is still extremely fragile. DPRK will continue to need substantial support in the foreseeable future as large segments of vulnerable population remain in want of continued humanitarian assistance for food, medicine and basic life sustaining needs. Results of the first nation wide nutritional survey of young children conducted in late 1998 by WFP, UNICEF and the EU established 62% were affected by chronic malnutrition (stunting) and 16 % suffered from acute malnutrition. There is no significant change as yet in these grim statistics.

The ACT network has been providing much needed life preserving and life sustaining humanitarian relief for the people of North Korea since the devastating floods of mid - 95. Till end 99, ACT provided over US$ 17 million in aid to the DPRK. As the 'crisis' in DPRK is not yet over, we appeal once again for your continued support in year 2000, albeit on a much reduced scale compared to earlier years.

While the sectoral focus remains virtually the same as in the past, the activities in each sector however are fewer and more specific than before.

  • Nutrition/Food Aid
  • Food Security
  • Health/Medical
  • Emergency Contingency
Limiting and specifying the field of activities does not in any way though prevent ACT from operating with utmost flexibility - the ability to always adjust to new situations and needs. The readiness for a "context-based" response, taking the risk for innovative measures whenever appropriate, is the underlying strength of the churches in the ACT network.

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Targets (Cash & In-kind): 2,753,000

Less: Pledges/Contributions:

Cash: 1,001,000

In-Kind: 193,000

Balance Requested from ACT Network: 1,559,000

Your immediate consideration of all possible cash and in-kind donations is urgently requested. Please kindly send your contributions to the ACT bank account and inform this office of all pledges/contributions and transfers. Please note the Fact Sheet and Pledge Form are no longer attached with the Appeal.

Account Number - 102539/0.01.61
Banque Edouard Constant
Cours de Rive 11
Case postale 3754
1211 Genève 3

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit application(s) for back-donor (EU; USAID; etc) funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind co-operation.

ACT Web Site address: http//www.act-intl.org

Geneviève Jacques, Director, WCC/Cluster on Relations
Miriam Lutz, ACT Co-ordinator
Rev. Rudolf Hinz, Director, LWF/World Service


ACT International: A global network appeal for emergency assistance in the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK)

ACT/Diakonishes Werk-Germany: Coordinating Agency for ACT Response in DPRK

ACT/Church World Service-USA: Coordinating Agency for administration of the Food Aid Liaison Unit (FALU)


ACT Co-ordinating Agencies for the DPRK

As in 1997, 98 and 99, in the year 2000 as well, ACT member Diakonisches Werk (DW) Germany, is prepared to be the ACT Co-ordinating Agency for ACT response and appeal projects in the DPRK.

Within the given limits and circumstances beyond control and/or influence of DW, Diakonisches Werk/Diakonie Emergency Aid based in Stuttgart, Germany will help ensure coordination and facilitation of the ACT emergency response, as well as help ensure that the critical tasks of assessment, relationships, procurement, transport, financial control, monitoring and reporting are carried out.

ACT member Church World Service (CWS) administers and facilitates the ACT network support and partnership in the NGO Food Aid Liaison Unit (FALU) within the WFP office located in Pyongyang, the capital.

Information on Implementing Mechanisms and Partners

The Korean Christian Federation (KCF) represents the Protestant churches in North Korea and is the equivalent of a National Christian Council. KCF joined the DPRK government appeal in1995 and requested humanitarian assistance and support from ACT. Since then, ACT has worked cooperatively and in coordination with KCF, building on the long term relations already established through KCF's work with the World Council of Churches and utilizing KCF's capacity whenever possible for the facilitation and provision of humanitarian relief.

UNICEF/ACT-DW POH (Project Officer Health): In 1998/99 assistance in the field of medical aid has been carried out through temporary technical consultancy (Mr. Albert Petersen, Dr. Edith Kaufmann - DIFÄM, German Institute on Medical Mission), while Mrs. Marilyn Weingärtner - based in WFP/MALU - had been entrusted with the facilitation and follow up of same.

For 2000, Diakonie will maintain the technical consultancy of DIFÄM on temporary assignments as deemed necessary. To ensure effective coordination of medical aid from the ACT network, Terms of Reference have been worked out and were agreed by Diakonie and UNICEF. The POH will have day to day responsibility for supporting implementation, including monitoring of the emergency project entitled "Essential Drugs" as well as the regular health programme.

The POH will mainly:

  • Manage the rehabilitation of local drug production with ACT/Diakonie's material and financial support
  • Provide, validate and/or revise estimates of the resources required for national level support for integrated health care for children and women
  • Assist the MoPH to better assess national requirements and determine UNICEF/ACT- Diakonie support for essential drugs, with respect to available stock consumption, utilization data forecast of needs and the sources of supplies
  • Monitor distribution of supplies sent by ACT/Diakonie
  • Provide progress reports on project activities to ACT/Diakonie
  • Liaise with counterparts and other international aid agency including WHO and FALU
The major part of the operational costs for the POH (salary, benefits, travel, housing, office operation and other) are being funded through DW's contribution to the ACT Appeal.

World Food Program/Food Aid Liaison Unit (WFP/FALU): In order to ensure effective coordination of food and other material aid inputs from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), WFP proposed the establishment of the Food Aid Liaison Unit (FALU) in the WFP Pyongyang office. ACT facilitated the establishment of FALU in December 1996 in cooperation with other NGOs. The FALU office and staff represent the interests of NGOs who are donating food and non-food relief for the DPRK crisis. The FALU was initially staffed during 1997-1998 by one International Officer, who was officially seconded to WFP by the NGO members of the FALU agreement. ACT and the other NGOs working through WFP-FALU agreed to strengthen the work of the FALU through the provision of an additional International Officer in early 1998 through to December 1999. In 2000, FALU will again be staffed by one International Officer.

However, the cooperation with WFP has been intensified in a way that the 23 field monitors of WFP routinely relay monitoring information on ACT and other FALU commodities. This enhances the actual FALU monitoring capacity.

The NGO members of the FALU agreement with WFP, which include ACT, Caritas and the Canadian Food Grains Bank besides Mercy Corps International, ADRA and World Vision, have established the following major objectives for FALU:

  • To increase the volume of humanitarian assistance from the International NGO community and to enhance the role of NGOs within the DPRK.
  • On behalf of WFP, to provide liaison services between the 'Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee' (FDRC) of the DPRK government and the International NGOs, with a view to promoting better mutual understanding and relief cooperation between them.
  • To assist the WFP and FDRC with the monitoring and coordination of NGO inputs and to assist with administrative matters.
The operational costs of the FALU, including salaries, benefits, travel, housing, office operations and other required support are jointly funded by the NGO members of the FALU agreement. As in other years, ACT will continue to support the FALU structure and staff through appeal funding.


Background of ACT Response in the DPRK

The inability of the DPRK economic system to cope with natural disasters, changing trade relations with former allies - Soviet Union/Russia and China and the burden of military spending have led to a deprivation of almost the entire population.

The ACT emergency response in DPRK began following the devastating floods which occurred during July and August of 1995. These floods, considered the worst natural disaster in the history of DPRK, caused extensive damage to most of the Korean Peninsula as crops were washed away, 500,000 people were forced from their homes, and the lives of 5.2 million people were devastated. The government of the DPRK, whose guiding principle has always been 'strict self-reliance', broke with tradition in their appeal for outside assistance from other countries, relief agencies and churches. The 1995 floods have been followed by three years of additional natural disasters and economic decline.

ACT has responded to the massive humanitarian needs of the North Korean people during the past 4.5 years through the provision of food, seeds, fertilizers, agricultural inputs, medicines, medical raw materials and non-food items. This critical humanitarian assistance has been accomplished through effective relations with DPRK authorities and implementation through FALU (our secondment to WFP) and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF). The total humanitarian relief provided by ACT during since 1995 is valued at over US$ 17 million (ACT appeals 9541KP, ASKP61, ASKP81 and ASKP91), almost entirely comprising direct donations of cash and in-kind commodities from ACT members, without back-donor support.

In 1999 alone, against a target of US$ 7.9 million, ACT members provided aid amounting to just over US$ 7 million (88%) comprising both cash and in-kind assistance. Much of the in-kind aid was in the form of food including nutritional food, medicines including pharmaceutical raw materials, blankets, clothing, seeds and fertilizers.

Impact on Human Lives

The impact upon the lives of the North Korean people is evident throughout the country. The insufficient daily intake of 200-400 grams of food is visible in large sections of the population who are haggard, poorly dressed and struggling to maintain normal life. UN reports say "the 'crisis' is not over with certain sectors still in the grip of a famine in slow motion." UNICEF and others have observed significant numbers of undernourished and malnourished children, in addition to widespread evidence of stunted growth. Critical services within the health care sector have been restricted due to the destruction of production facilities, shortages of fuel and the lack of raw materials. Shortages of food, medicine, equipment and a deterioration of the most basic infrastructure such as water and sanitation have led to a near total breakdown of health and other systems.

The effect of this two decade long tragedy is being increasingly manifested in young mothers who are experiencing problems in giving birth due to undeveloped reproductive systems. The scarcity of feed grains and forage for livestock has led to as much as 60 - 70 % decline in the numbers of pigs, chickens and cattle and contributed to the shortage of important proteins in the diet.

In 1999 too, spring moisture was inadequate which affected the growing maize crop and later in the year, Typhoons Neil and Olga caused damage, including loss of lives, in the south-west and south-east coastal areas.

These food shortages, inadequate health care, affects of the natural disasters in 99 and the severe winter weather have combined to increase the overall vulnerability and needs of the North Korean people. Inadequacies in clean water supplies, hygienic supplies, and sanitation systems in many areas are increasing the risk of communicable and infectious diseases.

Although 'international aid has helped stabilise the current food shortage and provided a safety net for the most vulnerable', the situation is still extremely critical and 'any reduction in aid would have serious consequences'.

The extent of the huge needs is evident from the UN's Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for DPRK in 2000 which has budgeted nearly US$ 332 million of which about 92% is for food assistance and the promotion of food security. The US$ 332 million also includes NGO projects valued at nearly US$ 7 million which includes the ACT Appeal Target of US$ 2.75 million.


Goal: To assist in increasing local food production, reduce the rate of malnourishment/malnutrition and provide inputs to help improve the availability and quantity of health care in the DPRK .


The past few years experience in DPRK has enabled ACT to sharpen its focus on the priority needs of specific beneficiary groups. Among the other contributory factors are, FALU's reduced capacity as well as a lower Appeal target in 2000.

  • Provision of Fortified High-Energy/Protein foodstuff for Pregnant/Lactating Women and Weaning Food for Children between 6 - 24 months.
  • Provision of Plastic Sheeting and LDP raw material for Greenhouses as well as Training and Exposure programs both in-country and outside.
  • Provision of inputs for Increased Potato Production.
  • Provision of Pharmaceutical Raw Materials for Local Production, important and essential Drugs and critical Medical Equipment/Supplies.
  • Provision of nutritional inputs and non-food items (blankets, clothing & shoes) to Vulnerable Persons.

Beneficiaries will be targeted only in accessible counties, in Provinces with high food deficits and which are less supported by resident NGOs.

Nutrition/Food Aid:

Target beneficiaries comprise Pregnant/Lactating Women and Children between 6 - 24 months.

Beneficiaries are identified through the UN offices of WFP/FALU, FAO, UNICEF and UNDP, working in conjunction with the DPRK government Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee (FDRC), the Public Distribution System (PDS) and other authorities.

Food Security:

1) Target beneficiaries for agricultural inputs and training/exposure comprise the affected DPRK farming population.

Collective farms are identified through the UN offices of WFP/FALU, FAO, UNICEF and UNDP, working in conjunction with the DPRK government Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee (FDRC), the Ministry of Agriculture, KCF and other authorities.

Food Security:

2) Target beneficiaries for the Potato Project in Sepo County, Kangwon Province are the affected population in the southeastern region of the country whose urgent food needs will be met through increased production of potatoes.

ACT member, Church World Service - USA, as part of a US based Private Voluntary Oganization Consortium (PVOC) will be involved as an implementing partner in the project. The PVOC will work in close collaboration with the Kangwon provincial authorities, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Agricultural Sciences (AAS). This proposal is a follow up to a similar PVOC potato project in 1999.

Health / Medical:

Target beneficiaries will comprise the vulnerable DPRK population receiving medical treatment through the public health care system of hospitals, primary health care centres and clinics. ACT health and medical inputs will assist the overall needs for improved health care.

Beneficiaries and targeted health institutions are identified through the UN offices of WFP/FALU, UNICEF and WHO, working in conjunction with the IFRC, the DPRK government Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee (FDRC), the Ministry of Health, KCF and other NGOs.

Emergency Contingency:

In the event of need, funds will be used to assist 'Especially Vulnerable Persons' or groups, such as malnourished children, women heads of households and the elderly.

Beneficiaries are identified through the UN offices of WFP/FALU, FAO, UNICEF and UNDP, or the Korean Christian Federation, who work in conjunction with the DPRK government Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee (FDRC) and the Public Distribution System (PDS).


ACT has provided food and non-food items to various target groups and geographical areas since 1996. The strength of ACT is its flexibility to respond swiftly to emerging food gaps and other special needs which is possible through the close co-operation with FALU and WFP.

Nutrition and Food Aid

  • Procurement, transport and distribution of fortified high protein food and weaning food.
While in principal, pregnant and nursing women, followed by children between 6 - 24 months comprise the target groups, ACT will respond to other needs as well, in close consultation with other aid providers through its representation in the FALU office.

Regional targeting will include North Pyongan and Chagang Provinces as well as Nampo and Kaesong cities. Other areas will be considered for special needs such as natural disasters or harvest failures.

Distribution plans will only include those counties, which are accessible to international monitors. Through tri-partite agreements between ACT, WFP/FALU and the DPRK Government, high standards of monitoring and reporting are ensured.

ACT appeal assistance will be provided through the established channels of WFP/FALU, KCF and FDRC. Inputs will be distributed through institutions, PDS and family distributions arranged by KCF.

Food Security - Agricultural Inputs

  • Provision of plastic sheeting and raw materials for manufacture of plastic sheeting for greenhouses.
  • Provision of short-term technical consultants if needed and appropriate.
  • Provision of training/exposure programmes for Korean agricultural workers/farmers.
ACT has provided critical farm inputs to selected counties in West Coast Provinces. These inputs included vegetable seeds for family gardens, grain seeds, plant protection equipment, as well as pesticides and mineral fertilizer. Training sessions in Europe were organized for Korean agricultural experts, mainly in the field of potato production.

ACT is committed to continue the provision of the most critical inputs for agricultural production in a flexible manner. Increased attention will be paid to cost-benefit ratios of the inputs under consideration. Through FALU and visiting missions, ACT will seek advice from Government, UNDP and NGOs regarding kind, quantity, timeframes and target areas for inputs.

ACT will continue to assist with in-country training/exposure as well as sponsor Korean agricultural experts and farmers to gain exposure to agricultural developments - both in science and on the farm level - in institutions outside DPRK, in China and elsewhere.

ACT appeal assistance will be provided through established channels of WFP/FALU, KCF and FDRC. Inputs will be distributed to cooperative farms, through PDS, and for family vegetable gardens.

Food Security - Potato Project, Sepo County

  • Project Components: Production inputs, farm machinery, team-level potato storage, support of training activities, technical support and support for the AAS.
  • Main Objectives: 1) short-term objective of increasing production of seed potatoes for Sepo County and surrounding areas, 2) longer- term objective of establishing a sustainable, technically strong and financially viable seed potato production centre in Sepo County to meet the seed needs of the southeastern region.
The project is part of a nation wide effort to increase and expand the production of potatoes to meet urgent food needs of the people. Located at an altitude above 500 meters above sea level, on the rail line and with good road connections to the provincial capital, Sepo County is well suited to play the role of a key seed potato production center. A major thrust of the program is to increase potato production in the southeastern region where it is less well known than in the north.

The proposal thus embodies the resources to meet immediate seed needs, lay the groundwork for the creation of a technically advanced, sustainable seed potato production center over the medium-term and enhance the capability of the AAS to produce high-quality, disease-free potato germ plasm.

Efforts would be made to combine PVOC assistance with that from UNDP and NGOs in agreed, high-priority support to the AAS.

Management of the project would rest with existing institutional structures in the country. Primary responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of the commercial seed production component would rest with the Sepo County Cooperative Farm Management Committee. The project is thus a DPRK activity supported by the PVOC.

While this is a 3 year initiative, the amount requested in the current budget is for year 1 only. Detailed project proposal with budget is available on request


  • Provision of pharmaceutical raw materials for local production.
  • Provision of essential medicines or vitamins in accordance with established needs.
  • Provision of critical medical supplies/equipment in accordance with established needs.
During the past two years, ACT has concentrated its efforts in the health sector on the provision of imported drugs and instruments for hospitals. The support to local production of drugs from imported raw materials, started in late 1997. A second round of production in 1999, resulted in 200 million tablets of essential drugs. While the current production is still monitored by WFP/FALU, agencies like WHO and UNICEF support this initiative strongly and in 2000, the UNICEF POH, co-financed by ACT will take over respective tasks from FALU.

Tests carried out by pharmacological laboratories in Germany indicate that the drugs produced in Pyongyang are very close to the required international standards. Further assistance is required to improve manufacturing practices to reach GMP level. This will be effected both by equipment and expertise. DIFAM, a German NGO specialising on drugs is advising Diakonisches Werk, the program coordinating agency for ACT assistance to DPRK.

ACT plans to provide appropriate amounts and kinds of raw materials, critical instruments, equipment and material to upgrade production standards. One full time medical expert will be financed in 2000 to monitor and advise the Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Complex. This expert will also advise ACT on imported medical supplies.

ACT will consider appeals for imported medical supplies by medical agencies operating in DPRK in a flexible manner and depending on the response to the ACT appeal.

Emergency Contingency

  • Provision of warm clothing, blankets and other basic needs as established.
  • Provision of nutritional inputs/therapeutic feeding needs as established and if required.
ACT appeal assistance will be provided through the established channels of WFP/FALU, KCF and FDRC. Inputs will be distributed through institutions, PDS and family distributions arranged by KCF.

Such a contingency allows ACT the flexibility and the ability to take risks for innovative measures whenever appropriate and to quickly respond to the most critical needs in the DPRK to help alleviate human suffering.

Food Shipments: Although never a part of, nor accounted for in the ACT Appeals, it bears mention that over the years, ACT members in Canada, together with their Canadian catholic counterparts have been shipping to DPRK, food grains accessed from the Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB).

Plans for the current year include a C$ 4 million wheat shipment to DPRK scheduled for arrival in April. The two ACT members, Presbyterian World Service and Development (PWS&D) and the United Church of Canada as well as the Mennonite Central Committee (a strong supporter of ACT) are the largest contributors to the current shipment and for which (PWS&D) will once again be acting as the lead agency of the CFGB.

In view of the serious shortage of cereals in the WFP pipeline, which is giving cause for concern, the above named ACT members in Canada are exploring possibilities of a supplementary shipment to plug the shortfall, failing which, nurseries, kindergartens, pregnant and nursing women, orphanages, hospitals, the elderly and other vulnerables will not receive any cereal distributions once the pipeline has dried up.

Transition from Emergency

During the provision of appeal assistance in 2000, ACT will continue to build long term relationships and trust with the Korean Christian Federation, the DPRK government and the people and structures within the DPRK.

A consultation tentatively scheduled for October this year will critically review ACT's intervention in the DPRK and provide direction for future shape of the ecumenical family's continued involvement in the DPRK.

If the decision is to phase out ACT's emergency response in the DPRK by the end of 2000, ACT will hand over the responsibility for longer term relationships and projects to supportive and concerned members of the ecumenical family. ACT will facilitate meetings, discussions and planning to accomplish an effective transition.


Management, Administration, Financial Control and Coordination

ACT-Diakonisches Werk (DW) Germany: ACT-DW is the 'Coordinating Agency' for all ACT appeal assistance in the DPRK. Within the given limits and circumstances beyond the control and/or influence of DW, responsibilities include:

  • Coordination of all aspects of ACT response in D