DPR Korea: Flash Floods/Typhoon Appeal No. 22/02 Final Report

Situation Report
Originally published


Appeal No. 22/2002; Launched on: 9 August 2002 for 4 months for CHF 903,000; budget revised on 23 September 2002, increased to CHF 947,300 and operation extended two months; Appeal coverage: 85% Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: CHF 75, 000
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Torrential rains of up to 340 - 380 cm fell in early August 2002 causing extensive damage in the western areas of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The high run-off volume combined with high winds and tides overwhelmed the embankments in coastal areas in Anjou City, while flash floods caused extensive damage to many houses, crops and infrastructure including roads, bridges, railways, public buildings, water, sewage and communication systems throughout areas of north and south Pyongan, and South Hwanghae provinces and Kaesong municipality.

The Red Cross was the first organisation to respond to initial reports, with the national society and Federation assessment teams gaining access to Anjou City within hours of the flooding, and again the next day in response to the Government's request for an international agency assessment. The Red Cross was the only agency to provide relief support to the affected by distributing pre-positioned relief items maintained in three warehouses in the region.

The DREF allocation of 75,000 CHF was extremely valuable as it allowed the Federation and DPRK Red Cross (DPRK RC) to initiate the operation without waiting for traditional donor contributions which often takes several days to materialise.

The initial distribution to 1,799 of the worst affected families in and around Anjou City was completed within 48 hours, and as further information and assessments were collected, the transportation, distribution and monitoring of items for an additional 6,323 families throughout the affected areas was completed within nine days.

The DREF was reimbursed in August, the same month it was released.

For a second time, in a less than a month, DPR Korea was been affected by floods triggered by torrential rainfalls. Disastrous effects caused by the passage of a Typhoon Rusa that has hit the Korean peninsula over the period of 31 August - 1 September 2002 were felt in Kangwon province of DPR Korea.

The DPRK Red Cross and its branches in the affected areas responded to the disaster by providing needed emergency services and relief goods to the affected communities.

Floods triggered by Typhoon Rusa on 31 August and 1 September had caused damage to parts of Kangwon Province. In Kangwon province the worst affected areas were Tongchon and Kosong counties (For information: Kosong is not accessible to international organisations), which received between 300 to 510 mm of rain, over a five to 10 hour period on the morning of 1 September. Initial assessment conducted by the DPRK Red Cross and the Federation, reported among the thousands of affected people 2,925 people (717 families) become homeless only in Tongchon county. DPRK Red Cross reported that three people perished while 7,401 have been left homeless in two counties of Kangwon Province including severely affected Kosong County, which is inaccessible to resident international organisation.

In affected areas, houses and scores of public buildings had been submerged, leaving thousand of houses destroyed and more than 26,042 people homeless and 6,681 people severely affected in the four provinces and one municipal city. Due to an early warning by the Red Cross and local authorities, a timely evacuation was organised. More than several kilometres of roads and railways, number of bridges, communications network, 3,700 hectares of paddy and non-paddy fields were seriously damaged in the city. The situation in Dokchon and Kaechon, which is surrounded by high mountains was even more critical. Populated towns and villages situated in between valleys were washed away by flash floods and landslides, leaving thousands of people homeless and destroying railway lines, mainroads and thousands of hectares of croplands. In South Hwanghae province most of the croplands were reported to be damaged.

Following the several assessment missions in different affected areas by the DPRK Red Cross and the Federation an appeal was launched on 9 August 2002 and revised on 23 September 2002 after typhoon Rusa hit the Kangwon province eastern part of the country. The revised appeal was made for CHF 947,300 to assist total 26,000 homeless beneficiaries, which added 2,925 homeless people of Kangwon province.

The Government of the DPRK immediately sent cabinet members to the affected areas and began emergency measures to cope with the sudden disaster. The Government relief management agency, the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee (FDRC) was on alert to control and coordinate the relief activities. Army servicemen were moblilised to provide search and rescue assistance and to reinforce and repair the embankments, roads and other infrastructures. All infrastructure and public houses were reconstructed for the affected people. The Federation monitoring visit observed that there are no people residing in temporary shelters. Provincial and local authorities were mobilised human and material resources to restore the cut telecommunications and transportation in the worst affected areas.

Given the positive response to this appeal including ECHO, along with the changes made in the revised appeal the Federation and DPRK Red Cross were able to cover another disaster stroke province within less than a month period.


Red Cross and Red Crescent action

Provincial and city/county Red Cross branches had promptly launched the response activities by mobilising their volunteers, even though their resources were limited. First aid posts were set up in the villages along with rehabilitation sites to provide medical assistance to the wounded victims. Anjou City Red Cross branch rapidly mobilised and deployed more than 310 volunteers for the rescue, evacuation and first aid service. Some 189 people were saved by an inflatable boat run by the Red Cross rescue team, and homeless people had been temporarily evacuated to the higher ground or were sharing houses with other families.

Following the Typhoon on 31 August & 1 September, an inter-agency assessment mission to Kangwon Province took place on 2 September, whereas DPRK Red Cross and Federation teams were the first to reach the affected areas. The mission, which included representatives from the Federation, WFP, UNDP, UNICEF, OCHA, and the British Embassy, inspected flood damage in Tongchon and Anbyon counties. The mission did not visit the severely affected Kosong county, which is inaccessible to resident international organisations. In Tongchon County local cooperative farms including Red Cross volunteers had reacted in the meantime by collecting from their villages food items representing two weeks food ration and distributed it to the victims.

During the emergency phase the DPRK Red Cross and the Federation delegation decided to release the pre-positioned disaster preparedness (DP) stocks from the central DP warehouse in Pyonygang and from the regional warehouses according to closer distance, to the flood victims in all areas.

The distribution of the remaining quantity of jerry cans and dressing materials to the hospital took place only in January 2003 due to delay in the procurement. By the end of January 2003 all the distributed items were replenished in the DP warehouse.

A distribution plan was prepared by the DPRK Red Cross and approved by the Federation delegation. Resident Federation delegates has been traveling extensively in the area with staff from DPRK Red Cross during distribution period, visiting institutions/beneficiaries and working with local Red Cross staff and volunteers.

The delegates were able to attend to all the distribution in the affected areas. Federation delegates were able to witness the efficient delivery of relief stock by the DPRK RC, which had obviously prepared well to ensure that the distributions were carried out efficiently. All the goods (that consisted of blankets, water containers, water purification tablets, kitchen sets, first aid kits and dressing materials) including small quantity of plastic sheeting had been delivered in advance to distribution points in the centre of each affected areas. Tallies made by the delegate showed no discrepancies from the distribution plan. Those victims that were to receive assistance had been given the timing of the distributions and were all in attendance at the distribution points prior to the arrival of the monitoring team. Prior to the start of the distribution, the main relief officer explained about the Red Cross movement and the Federation and what was to be handed over to them.

It was obvious from the visual appearance of those attending the distribution, as well as the home visits that followed, that the national society in co-operation with the local authorities had selected the most vulnerable homeless families to assist. During the monitoring of the distribution carried out by the DPRK Red Cross volunteers in different areas the Federation delegates observed that beneficiary registration and identification had been completed, all goods were stacked neatly and ready for distribution, all stocks tallied with distribution plan and number of beneficiaries present. Moreover, beneficiary list had been made out that included names of household, family size, items to be received and each beneficiary was required to sign for receipt of goods.

All the individual beneficiaries and local Red Cross volunteers interviewed expressed their satisfaction with the relief received.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Society

The progress against the objectives outlined in the Appeal is provided here below (Refer to Annex 1).


Objective 1: Strengthen the capacity of the Red Cross first aid service in the communities with the provision of 390 first aid kits to the branches.

Immediately after the disaster 290 in South Phyongan, 52 in North Phyongan, 35 in South Hwanghae provinces and 13 in Kaesong Municipal city first aid kits were distributed from Red Cross regional warehouses located in different nearby areas, which was replenished later. Total 390 first aid kits procured from the Federation secretariat, Geneva.

Objective 2: Support medical treatment for the disaster victims with the provision of 300 dressing materials for hospital.

Three hundred sets of dressing materials to each identified hospitals had been provided for the affected city and county hospitals. These are located in South and North Phyongan province. The dressing materials consists of guaze, gloves wound pad, bandage, pins, antiseptic, plaster of paris, etc.


Minimise the risk of the water-born diseases in the targeted areas with objectives

Objective 1: provide 2.1 million water purification tablets

The distribution of 2,129,310 water purification tables to all the identified areas to cover the need for two months were completed. Clear instructions in Korean were printed on each strip advising on how to use the tablets provided to each household. In addition, at each distribution point, the local Red Cross explained the usage of the tablets and the need to boil any contaminated water prior to adding the water purification tablets. As a result of this very education the flooding did not provoke any waterborne epidemics.

Objective 2: provide 11,254 collapsible water containers to the affected areas.

In order to collect water from outside sources and keep it uncontaminated, a total of 11,254 water containers were distributed. All of the each 4,931 homeless families received two pieces and 1,392 severely affected families received one set of collaps ible plastic jerry cans.

Relief distributions

Objective 1 To provide emergency relief assistance to 26,042 homeless and 6,711 severely affected people in the Red Cross targeted areas.

Blankets: A total of 32,753 beneficiaries received blankets in all the five different areas affected by the disaster. All the distributed quantity was replenished.

Kitchen Sets: All 4,931 homeless families received one traditional style kitchen set, following the lesson learnt from the 2000/2001 emergency relief operation in which female heads of households were asked for input on the most appropriate items.


Objective 1: To ensure that logistic processes meet Federation guideline s

Federation guidelines applied in the procurement, transport, storage and distribution of all items and services covered by this appeal.

All most all of the procurement has been carried out through Finnish Red Cross (FRC) and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Secretariat, Geneva. Only items like kitchen sets were purchased locally. At the local level invitation notice for tenders were sent to potential suppliers, bids were received in sealed envelopes and opened in the presence of DPRK Red Cross concerned staff and Federation representative. After the analysis of the bids, the most favourable offers were awarded contracts after getting final authorisation from the Federation Secretariat, Geneva. The analysis of the bids were based on the validity of bids, price, quality, quantity, time frame, locally acceptability and reliable services.

Before being dispatched for distribution all relief items were stored either in the Red Cross central warehouse or regional warehouse.


Objective: To provide temporary shelter materials for those families whose houses have been destroyed. The floods had damaged many houses, which gave rise to the difficulties of having to shelter all the affected population in public building and/or in to their relatives homes. The provision of plastic sheeting had an option to place them in temporary shelters until the government resettled or allocated home to those affected and homeless people.

The plastic sheeting delayed to be delivered four months after the floods. By this time most of the beneficiaries had settled in the permanent shelters. Only 1,690 plastic sheetings were distributed to the homeless people.

In agreement with ECHO-3 in Brussels and the ECHO representative in DPRK, it was agreed that the remain ing balance of plastic sheeting - 5,010 units - was donated to the DPRK Red Cross to be pre-positioned for future disasters.

National Society Capacity Building

At present, the overall response to disaster occurring tends to be reactive, i.e., acting after the events. The relief operation was a good basis for DPRK Red Cross to develop more proactive programmes that can start to tackle the problems before the disaster happens, and thus reduce not only the loss of life and property, but also the social and economic disruptions that are the results of natural disaster in the DPRK context.

DPRK Red Cross, working together with the affected people during and aftermath of flash flooding and with the Federation and government's agency FDRC had an important part to play in developing better programming initiatives and understanding of preparedness. The operation provides a good way of ensuring the continued development of disaster preparedness and disaster response activities as well as higher profile of the DPRK Red Cross. The full involvement and commitment of the national society, and provincial/county branches enhanced the capacity of volunteers and staff to implement relief operation as well as to ensure the standard of programme implementation.

For further details please contact:

Kim Sok Chol, Secretary General, DPRK Red Cross, Phone 850 2 18333 (ask for 8048) Fax: 850 2 3814644

Per Gunnar Jenssen, Head of Delegation, DPRK, Phone: 85 02 381 4350; Fax: 85 02 3813490; email: ifrckp02@ifrc.org

Satoshi Sugai, Geneva-based Regional Officer, Phone: 41 22 730 4273; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email: satoshi.sugai@ifrc.org

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. The procurement for this operation was carried out in full compliance and conformity with the Federation's standard for international and local procurement.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org.

This operation sought to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or long-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's website