Between 1 and 5 August 2015, torrential rains have caused floods in several Ri-s (villages) and in the outskirts of cities of south Hwanghae and north and south Hamgyong provinces of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). According to the State Committee on Emergency and Disaster Management (SCEDM), the Government of DPRK and the DPRK Red Cross Society (RCS), the floods affected 3,541 people, claimed 24 lives and 9 people are reported missing in more than 20 affected cities/counties.
During this reporting period, the country experienced a second round of flooding following Typhoon Goni. Although the country was not directly hit by the typhoon, many parts of the country were affected by heavy rainfall and flash floods brought by the system on 22 and 23 August. The greatest impact was felt in the northeastern city of Rason, near the border of Russia and China.
In two different major floods, the country received more than half of its annual average rainfall (321mm) causing wide spread damage and loss to lives, properties and belongings. According to the State Committee on Emergency and Disaster Management (SCEDM), the Government of DPRK and the DPRK Red Cross Society DREF Update The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Floods DPRK RCS and IFRC staff conducting detailed assessment in Sonbong district, Rason city.
(RCS), the floods affected 6,473 families or approximately 22,656 people, claimed 89 lives, and 10 people are reported missing in more than 25 affected cities/counties. The floods have destroyed many houses, leaving 1,420 families homeless as their apartments or individual dwellings along with household belongings were swept away.
In addition, 4,827 families were either living in partially damaged houses and makeshift houses. Infrastructure and services i.e. road, water and sanitation system, hospitals, schools were damaged in flood affected areas. These floods collectively damaged a total of 4,036 hectares of crops, around 5,000 m2 of roads, 632 m of bridges, and 1,976 m2 of railway tracks.
In Rasin and Sonbong districts of Rason city, which are the worst affected areas, they experienced knee deep flood water, inundating 204,238 population of the city for 48 hours. The power supply collapsed and could not be resumed in three days, and at least two bridges at strategic points were broken which has affected the supply chain and caused significant delay in transportation.
According to local authorities of Rason city, six hospitals and clinics, 11 schools and 15 kindergartens were damaged by the floods. Major hospitals, including Sonbong district people’s hospital, were evacuated to Ha Hyon Primary school. Most of the affected hospitals, schools and kindergarten are in poor conditions to operate due to huge damage of medical supplies, machineries, equipment, tools, etc.
In the floods affected areas, particularly Sonbong district of Rason city, water supply system has collapsed where people are now depending on open water sources which are believed to be contaminated by floods. Most of the affected people are living in public places and makeshift shelters where they do not have proper access to food, safe drinking water, and sanitation and hygiene facilities. The outbreak of water borne diseases is a major health concern. The initial assessment suggests that women, children and elderly people are in greater need of immediate assistance.
The DPRK RCS and IFRC Delegation have conducted a detailed needs assessment between 1 and 4 September in Rason city. The joint needs assessment team has established coordination with government, UN and NGOs joint mission conducting assessment in order to get a global picture of the situation and inform response actions.
The DPRK RCS in coordination with IFRC Delegation had swiftly reacted to the floods with immediate assistance of evacuation and first aid services. It has deployed provincial disaster response team (PDRT) and national disaster response team (NDRT) to assist in flood affected areas with safe evacuation, first aid services, distribution of non-food items (NFIs) to the most affected people. The PDRT and NDRT members provided technical guidance and assistance in setting up makeshift shelters with emergency shelter materials i.e. tarpaulins and shelter tool kits. By end of August, a total of 1,929 displaced families have already received NFIs from the DPRK RCS’s prepositioned stocks. The NFI distribution for the remaining 279 families is in progress and is expected to be completed by 7 September. The DPRK RCS will deploy water treatment plant in the areas of makeshift shelters to supply safe water to affected people.
The government has distributed food ration (500 gram/per person/per day) for 15 days and other basic necessities to the affected people. It has also mobilized construction unit of People’s Army for rehabilitation of damaged houses and infrastructure within 40 days.
As of 31 August, various humanitarian agencies, including WHO, WFP, UNICEF, FAO, and ICRC have contributed to the efforts in humanitarian assistance to affected population in Rason city. WHO has handed over an Inter-Agency Healthcare kit for 10,000 people for three months and four water tanks; WFP has released 5.5 MT of high protein biscuits; UNICEF has provided emergency child care kit; FAO purchased and handed over two portable generators, and ICRC has contributed one big health kit and 690 liters of fuel to the government for its humanitarian assistance to affected people in Rason city.
In addition to the initial DREF operation to support 908 flood affected families in south Hwanghae province and north and south Hamgyong provinces, the DPRK RCS is requesting for a second DREF allocation to support an additional 1,300 families in Rason City. The second allocation will cover the replenishment of the NFIs which are being dispatched from the disaster preparedness stock and distributed to the 1,300 affected families, the provision of safe drinking water through mobilization of water treatment unit and the mobilization of additional volunteers for relief distribution and hygiene promotion activities. The DREF operation timeframe of four months is unchanged.