DPR Korea: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 15

Situation Report
Originally published
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
OCHA Situation Report No. 15
19 November 2007

This report is based on information from UN Agencies, IFRC, Programme Support Units (PSUs), the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP).


1. The Secretary-General of the National Coordinating Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator ad interim, extended his gratitude to the United Nations and Donors for the efficient and effective response through the Flash Appeal. The Secretary-General confirmed that the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is rehabilitating the damaged infrastructure, houses and public buildings, which should be completed before end of the year as the whole society, including Army, has been mobilized. The Secretary General promised to look into the possibility of releasing more information on national rehabilitation efforts and progress achieved in the flood-affected areas.

2. According to WFP, rehabilitation of houses in the flood-affected areas is progressing well. Most one-storey houses were completed and rehabilitation of two-storey apartment buildings is underway. Families living in temporary shelters or with relatives, interviewed by WFP, hope to move into their new houses by the end of November, in the wake of quickly approaching winter. According to local officials, infrastructure rehabilitation was also nearing completion: roads are now reopened and accessible by trucks; railways were operational since mid-October and, with few exceptions, damaged bridges are repaired. In some counties, over 10, 000 people had been mobilized for the repair work.

3. According to the health sector agencies, the main challenges are: a) delay in receiving disease surveillance data from the Government of DPRK; b) shortage of emergency health supplies in the international market due to a high number of emergencies world-wide resulting in even longer lead-time for international procurement resulting in delay of some emergency supplies distributions.

4. With a technical support from UNICEF, the Ministry of City Management (MoCM) conducted a damage assessment of pump-based water supply systems in the 26 worst-affected counties. None of the visited counties had functional pumping stations due to either damaged installation or lack of power supply. As a result the population is relying on alternative water sources such as unprotected shallow wells, rivers and springs. All of the equipment assessed (motors, pumps, electric equipments, distribution pipes) is outdated. Distribution of basic spare parts would bring the pumping station into operation once the power supply is back. The basic spare parts have been received in country and are now under distribution to counties.

5. Local authorities report that 75% of the damaged school buildings have been repaired or reconstructed. However, in some areas the figures reported by People's Committees (local authorities) differ from those officially reported by the Ministry of Education.

6. With the main harvest of maize and rice completed, piles of crops can now be observed drying in the fields and along the roadsides before transport to the milling centres. The main agricultural activity now is harvesting Chinese cabbage to prepare the Kimchi for the winter season. County officials report that they are worried that the cabbage harvest will be significantly smaller this year, as the seeds were washed away due to the floods and only recently replanted. A poor cabbage harvest can be particularly hard for the poorest households as Kimchi serves as the primary source of vegetables during the Winter.


Health and Nutrition

7. Preliminary MUAC screening data received by UNICEF from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH.) is being processed with the support of a nutrition specialist based in Beijing. UNICEF intends to use a nutritional paste to threat the severely malnourished children and screen for children with the initial stages of malnutrition at the Ri clinic. An initial 52 Metric tonnes of nutritional paste for treatment of moderate and severe malnutrition is being distributed to the flood-affected counties. Additional 50 Metric tonnes are expected to arrive soon.

8. Preparations are on-going for a nation wide campaign on diarrhoea prevention and promotion of good hygiene on Child Health Day, 5 December. UNICEF is using the CERF allocation for the campaign in order to procure 3 million ORS sachets, 880,000 Zinc tablets, 340,000 soap bars and print leaflets in Korean on diarrhoea prevention and the use of Zinc and ORS (1 million diarrhoea and half million Zinc tablet leaflets). These are expected to be delivered to affected counties by 30 November. Health education sessions on the use of ORS will take place in the week of 18 November. The UN, donors and embassies will be invited to visit different counties and Ris to observe the campaign.

9. IFRC and the MoPH assessed 200 affected health facilities and selected 150 Ri health facilities in South Hamgyong, South Pyongan and North Hwanghae provinces for provision of medical equipment and instruments. The procurement of furniture (locally) and equipment (internationally) has already begun. In conjunction with this, WHO will support rehabilitation of 95 ri health facilitates.

10. EUPS Unit 1 plans to distribute medicine kits to 12 hospitals in early December, contingent on their arrival before the end of November. UNICEF is distributing essential medicine kits in 3 provinces (North Hwanghae, South Hwanghae and Kangwon). WHO procurement is on-going for 445 Ri Kits and 445 midwifery kits, 47 Inter-agency Emergency Health Kits and 10,000 typhoid oral vaccines. UNFPA is finalizing the distribution and monitoring plans for additional Emergency Reproductive Health kits, expected to arrive in early December and the second shipment in early January.


11. The MoCM agreed with the recommendation to carry out a centralized repair campaign of pumps/motors to be undertaken in Pyongyang and Provincial capitals in February 2008. UNICEF has placed order for necessary repair materials for carrying out centralized repair.

12. The international technical team prepared a modular design for an emergency pump-based system, which would be constructed in counties where pump stations have been washed away or are beyond repair. Two pump stations in Koksan and Taetan counties have been identified for urgent rehabilitation in March-April 2008, once the weather conditions allow construction works. UNICEF will prepare a proposal to be submitted to donors for a second phase of emergency rehabilitation of water supply systems in 6-7 additional sites.

13. EUPS Unit 2 has completed 40 per cent of rehabilitation works of Yonggwang county water supply project. Pump house rehabilitation has been finished and pumps are to be installed by the end of November.

14. Spare parts will be provided by EUPS 1 for the rehabilitation of the Pongsan pump station, which supplies water to Pongsan town but also to Sariwon. Works will be completed by the end of November.


15. WFP has completed the second cycle of food distributions consisting of some 4,801 tonnes of cereals to all 37 counties targeted under the EMOP. WFP also delivered the 10,366 tonnes of food planned under the EMOP, with the exception of 32 tonnes of vegetable oil, which is planned for distribution in December.

16. WFP international staff were present at the Public Distribution Centres (PDCs) to observe the distribution of food and conduct interviews with beneficiaries and local officials. Food distributions were on-going in all but one county visited during the reporting period. There was limited food available in the PDCs, however local authorities stated that cereals from the harvest would start arriving shortly.

17. County officials estimated that this years harvest would be significantly affected due to the floods. Official data with respect to this years harvest is expected in late-January when it will be released by the Ministry of Agriculture. In view of the possible shortfall, many counties plan to adjust the food basket and reduce the rations provided through the Public Distributions System. Many officials stated that WFP assistance would be needed to cover the gap from the floods, as support for food-for-community-development rehabilitation projects and as regular nutritional support to children and pregnant and lactating women.


18. In agreement with the Ministry of Education (MoE), UNICEF procurement of 13,105 furniture sets benefiting 26,210 students is complete. However, the delivery of the supplies will be delayed due to management constraints by the local supplier. Furniture provision accounts for 85 per cent of the total education emergency response. UNICEF is also to procure 1,300 classroom stationery kits and school recreational kits for 35,000 children without classrooms and 261 damaged schools (official MoE data).


19. FAO expects delivery of 400 tonnes of spring barley seed, 400 tonnes of fertiliser and 2500 rolls of plastic sheeting in December. This will be distributed to the co-op farms which lost significant quantities of crops during the August floods, especially in South Pyong'an, North Hwanghae and Pyongyang provinces.


20. The DPRK Flash Appeal for 14.1 million USD is now 83.3% funded, with a further 1.3 million USD pledged. For additional updates, please refer to the OCHA Financial Tracking Service (FTS) http://Reliefweb.int/fts.

21. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int.

For detailed information please contact

Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok;
Mr. Markus Werne, Mob. +66 81 917 8940, Tel. +66 2288 2558
Ms. Amanda Pitt ,Mob. +66 81 374 1035,Tel. +66 2288 1195

Desk Officer:
(NY) Mr. Ivan Lupis, Tel. +1 917 367 5286

Press contact: (NY), Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Tel. +1 917 367 5126
(GVA),Ms. Elizabeth Byrs,Tel. +41 22 917 2653

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.