DPR Korea: Floods and landslides Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF n° MDRKP012

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Heavy downpours which started on 28 August have caused large-scale flooding and land slides to low-lying areas in North and South Hwanghae province of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). According to the government report, a total of 76 people are confirmed dead and 75 are still missing, most of them were children presumably drowned and swept away in the currents. Over 3,200 houses are destroyed in addition to clinics, schools and kindergartens. Over 10,000 people have been made homeless due to their houses being destroyed, partially destroyed or submerged. Significant damage has been done to water supply systems and clean water is now being trucked in. The persistent heavy rains (such as 100 mm/ hr for several hours) over a 48-hour period caused flash floods in five counties in North Hwanghae and four counties in South Hwanghae province, which are located in the south-west part of DPRK.

A total of 3,237 houses have been affected in the North and South Hwanghae province with some partially damaged, some completely destroyed, and others still submerged in the floodwater, where the most affected area is Kumchon County in North Hwanghae province. It is estimated that around 10,681 people have been displaced and are living with family, neighbours or in temporary shelters. The entire communities have been affected especially those whose houses were close to the river. In Eup Town, Kumchon Country a landslide destroyed several houses and in the nearby valley, over 77 houses were washed away with a significant loss of life. There are indications of other affected villages but as roads are blocked, it’s not possible to assess the damage and the needs at the moment. The government has provided population figures for the affected counties indicating that a total of 581,268 people are affected – North Hwanghae (308,070) and South Hwanghae (273,198).

Currently, DPRK is also affected by a series of weather-related disasters. The country has suffered from heat waves since mid-July, affecting 13,768 people in South Hamgyong and South Phyongan Provinces damaging crops and causing health issues associated with heatstroke. Typhoon Soulik made landfall on 24 August bringing further rain and winds leading to severe flooding to South Hamgyong and Kangwon provinces, displacing close to 60,000 people. The combined effects of these events now quickly followed by the flooding in North and South Hwanghae will have a significant negative effect on the harvests with potentially high impact on nutrition and health. Three operations are therefore being carried out in separate locations by DPRK RCS.

To allow for immediate disaster response, DPRK RCS with support from IFRC is requesting a DREF allocation of CHF 383,123. This operation will be focusing on supporting DPK RCS in disaster response activities, by mobilizing volunteers and staff in conducting needs assessment and provision of non-food items (NFIs), health and water and sanitation interventions and providing first aid and psychosocial support. The operation will last for five months, longer than the standard DREF operation. This is to allow time for potentially lengthy procurement processes for DPRK.

Summary of the current response

Overview of Host National Society

DPRK RCS volunteers trained in first aid were the first to respond to the floods along with provincial, county and municipal authorities in both North and South Hwanghae Provinces. Mrs. Yu Sun Hung, Vice Chairperson of County People’s Committee in Kumchon County, North Hwanghae Province praised the DPRK RCS for their immediate action in search and rescue, first aid and transporting injured to the county hospital. Since onset of the disaster, RC volunteers have continued to support the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and other authorities in offering assistance to the affected population by offering first aid and treatment for injuries including broken limbs, cuts and other traumas.
Specially trained volunteers are offering psychological support. This is particularly important bearing in mind the number of casualties and the number of people including children who are missing, presumed drowned but washed away in the floods. Health promotion activities are being carried out with household doctors from the MoPH emphasizing the prevention and early treatment of communicable diseases. This training is being carried out by DPRK RCS volunteers and community volunteers trained in the Community Based Health and First Aid (CBHFA) methodology.

To cope with the threat of water-borne disease, the DPRK RCS has a stockpile of buckets and jerry cans to assist in the event of an emergency and has started distributing these items to the affected population. DPRK RCS will soon begin distributing 1,500 copies of emergency WASH leaflet that explains the storage and treatment of water at household level and the method of using the water purification tablets. Trained volunteers are working at the community and household emphasizing the importance of personal hygiene especially handwashing with an emphasis being placed on educational establishments and temporary shelters. Since the government is supplying some communities with spring water distributed from water trucks, the National Society will concentrate on those areas which will not be served by these trucks. An assessment team consisting of the Director of the WASH Department and two technicians left for North Hwanghae on 7 September to carry out a more detailed assessment of the situation and will report back in a few days.
The team reported that the government and local authorities have managed to repair the water supply systems in the most affected urban areas but there are still needs in more rural communities. The provincial authorities and international agencies have been very appreciative of this immediate support in the WASH sector.

Additionally, DPRK RCS has distributed the NFIs to assist the affected population. These activities are all covered under this DREF operation. DPRK RCS is also coordinating with local stakeholders while IFRC is responsible for coordinating with the other international organisations.