Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Floods - Information Bulletin n° 1

The situation

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.

Initial unconfirmed reports based on assessments by DPRK Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) Provincial Disaster Response Teams indicate that the most affected area at this stage is reported as North Hamgyong Province with affected cities and counties including: Hoeryong City, Musan County, Yonsa County, Chongjin City, Kimchaek City, Orang County, Kyongsong County, Kilju County, and Rason City area.

Todate, there have been ten deaths reported, 15 missing people and with number of injured people still unknown. Unconfirmed reports indicated that 17,182 households have been affected by the floods. It is estimated that more than 9,088 houses have been damaged, and over 8,094 houses destroyed. Up to 44,009 people are reported to be displaced.

It is anticipated that numbers will increase as more information comes to hand from the assessments being conducted in the coming days. The government Early Warning and Evacuation system was activated and 15,000 families were evacuated ahead of the flood waters. Communication with and access to the affected areas remains a major challenge as telephone services are cut off and many communities are isolated by the flood waters and damage to roads and bridges. Rain is still falling across North Hamgyong Province and the forecast is for continued rain over the next few days.

Reports indicate that Hoeryong City is greatly affected with over 2,000 houses inundated or submerged and over 1,000 houses completely destroyed.

Initial reports indicate that at least 26,000 families have been left with no safe drinking water.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

Provincial Disaster Response Teams from North Hamgyong Province have been deployed with Search and Rescue and First Aid teams mobilized. In total more than 1,000 volunteers have been mobilized for the reliefand evacuation activities. The DPRK Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) has released 2,500 household kits (tarpaulins, jerry-cans, water-purification tablets, blankets, etc.) pre-positioned at Hamhung City disasterwarehouse.

DPRK RCS is working closely with provincial and national authorities including the State Committee of Emergency and Disaster Management in the assessment of the aftermath of the flood and in responding to the needs of affected families.

Based on the available information that points toward significant humanitarian needs and with further information through assessments when safety conditions allow, IFRC through its country office in Pyongyang, is working closely with DPRK RCS to determine the appropriate response and support from the IFRC Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) or other international disaster response mechanisms.