DPR of Korea Humanitarian Situation Report : 15 Jul - 15 Aug 1998

Situation Report
Originally published
Period covered: 15 July - 15 August 1998

Planning and future programming of the implementation of the Roundtable Meeting for Agricultural Recovery and Environment Protection (AREP) is underway in collaboration with the Agricultural Commission on Seed Production to develop project proposals for the production of maize and rice.

Heavy rains reported in DPRK during August with limited rice paddy areas affected. In consultation with DPRK counterparts, the UN is keeping a watching brief on the situation. There are no indications that suggest an acute disaster.

A 4-member delegation from the United States House of Representative International Relations Committee is visiting DPRK for one week to review WFP projects in North Hamgyong and to follow up with the USD 73,894 million contribution to WFP's EMOP 5959.


Heavy rains were reported in DPRK during August 1998. Some areas in DPRK have received 75 percent of the average August rainfall. In consultation with FDRC (Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee), WFP carried out a rapid assessment of affected areas. Reports indicated that there will be some affected crop areas where rice paddies will be affected due to the lack of pollination with yields that may decrease by 50 percent in some areas. The maize crop does not appear to be particularly affected by the rainfall. The maize harvest prospects in the eastern part of the country are poor and better in the west.

Following the Thematic Roundtable Meeting on Agricultural Recovery and Environment Protection (AREP) organised by UNDP on 28-29 May 1998, UNDP and FAO issued an urgent appeal in early July 1998 calling for USD 12,400,000 for 1998/99 Winter/Autumn wheat and barley Double-Crop Program. The new appeal addresses the immediate inputs for 8,000 MTs of winter wheat seeds and 4,500 MTs of winter barley seeds and 28,000 MTs of fertilizer. The new appeal will allow the additional production of 370,000 MTs of grain in mid-June 1999, and this will be available for human consumption in the lean months from July to September 1998. Responding to this appeal, The Royal Government of Norway announced a contribution of five million Kroner (USD 650,195) on 23 July 1998 to the UNDP Trust Fund for DPR Korea. This amount will permit procurement of 2,000 MTs of winter wheat seeds scheduled to arrive in DPR Korea by 31 August, 1998.

In collaboration with FAO and the European Union, UNDP is planning to hold a Disaster Preparedness Workshop on Early Warning Systems.

EU-DGVIII is currently involved in ongoing discussions in Pyongyang about their food allocation for approximately 30,000 MTs to WFP to be channelled to European NGOs. In preparation for the EU-DGVIII program of assistance a short-term mission has undertaken a preliminary selection of pilot projects in agricultural recovery in areas such as seed production, soil management and integrated plant nutrition, crop diversification, agro-forestry and agricultural land protection. The mission report will be available shortly.

FALU (Food Liaison Unit) received visits in July from Caritas HongKong, Caritas Japan, "Triangle" (France), PMU Interlife (Sweden), Hungarian Baptist Aid delegation, Sotoshu Volunteer Association (Japan) and World Vision International.

The joint EU/WFP/UNICEF Nutrition Assessment Survey has been postponed. It is now scheduled for early September.

Preparation for a DPRK-UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) has been completed and data collection will commence following training of enumerators.

The joint preparation of a drug-use manual (WHO/MSF/IFRC) has been completed. The manual addresses issues such as management of acute respiratory infections, treatment and prevention of diarrhoea/dehydration in children under five and managing pharmacies.

During early August, a chemical technician with expertise in pharmaceutical production visited Pyongyang Pharmaceutical factory, laboratories, clinics and hospitals on behalf of Diakonisches Werk and DIFAM, Germany, to explore supplies of pharmaceutical raw materials to be manufactured into finished medicines for use in DPRK. FALU hosted a roundtable to discuss the issue of local pharmaceutical production with international agencies in DPRK and FDRC.

As of 9 July, the 1998 UN Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal has received contributions amounting to 10.5 million. This represents approximately 27 percent of total requirements. The food security and agricultural recovery component has received contributions equivalent to 7 percent of the total requirement. The food aid component has received 28 percent in funding (USD 97.7 million) and 44 percent in terms of commodities (264,557 MTs).

The NGO CapAnamur's MOU with the Government of DPRK has been extended for another six months taking it up to February 1999.

The NGO MSF (Médicins Sans Frontières) will cease their operations in DPRK in September 1998.


Food aid arrivals recorded by WFP for August 1998 amounted to 42,000 MTs. Another 129,000 MTs is expected during August-September 1998. There are no expected shipments after 22 September, 1998.

WFP has delivered 101,616 MTs of cereals to nurseries and 44,575 MTs of cereals from carry forward and pledges under EMOP 5959 as of 4 August 1998 for a total of 146,191 MTs of cereals to maintain these beneficiary groups. Nurseries and kindergartens will continue to be supplied WFP cereals to maintain children's nutritional status.

WFP is closely monitoring primary school children. Field reports note some malnutrition cases from this category in hospitals. Primary schools have not thus far received WFP food assistance.

WFP assistance to the nutrition of nursery and kindergarten children appears stable due to the targeting of the bulk of food assistance to this category.

WFP reports that the Public Distribution System (PDS) in some regions has not distributed food since April. As a result families are harvesting maize early and alternative foods (herbs and grasses) for consumption purposes.

FALU (Food Aid Liaison Unit) reported July deliveries to include: 500 MTs of maize from PMU (Pentacostal Mission) for Kindergartens in Chaggang Province and 50 MTs vegetable oil from ACT/CWS (Action Churches Together/Church World Service) for Nurseries in Kangwon Province and 19 MTs of Protiblend.

PVO Consortium assessed 66 projects in 60 different counties (North & South Pyongan, North & South Hwanghae and South Hamgyong) and approved 48 projects in the four western provinces totaling a food commitment of 62,462 MTs. Projects proposed include: feeding 438,000 workers and 876,000 family members on a workday ration of two kilograms of maize per worker for an average of 70 days; protect areas from further flood damage or to reclaim unproductive land, totaling 71,500 hectares; construct 450 kilometers of embankments, moving 18,500 cubic meters of earth rock; reclaim 3,000 hectares of salt flats and protect 11,500 homes from further flooding.

EU-DGVIII received the following deliveries: 37,000 MTs maize, 3,000 MTs split peas, 10,000 MTs rice. Beneficiaries groups include vulnerable groups in South Hwanghae and South Pyongan covering nurseries, kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools, the elderly, pregnant and lactating women, hospitals and children centres for an approximate period of 95 days from the date of delivery. A 5-member monitoring team will arrive at the end of August for a period of five months.

German Agro-Action (GAA) distributed 407 MTs of soya beans to beneficiaries in 16 counties of South Hwanghae. Beneficiaries include 203,000 children (age 7-14) with 105 daily rations of 15 kg; 189,000 elderly with 45 daily rations. GAA also delivered 3,200 MTs of rice and 120 MTs of vegetable oil to the same beneficiaries.

IFRC's final shipment of 1,200 MTs of rice is currently under distribution. The Federation will continue to provide an additional 6,000 MTs of maize until end October.


WHO recently assessed the status of the health system in DPRK based on field visits to several health institutions in four provinces (North & South Pyongan, Kangwon and South Hwanghae). As well, it assessed the current status of blood safety and feasibility for establishing a polio laboratory in DPRK. A plan of action to prevent vaccine preventable diseases in DPRK has been jointly prepared by a WHO expert in consultation with UNICEF and the Ministry of Public Health.

UNICEF has received 1000 Ri Clinic Kits and 150 county hospital kits. These are to be distributed in due course. In addition, 9,000 manuals on Acute Respiratory Infections and 10,000 manuals on the Control of Diarrhoeal Diseases were printed and are ready for dissemination through the Ministry of Public Health. Breastfeeding promotion materials have been printed and ready for dissemination by the Ministry of Public Health.

UNICEF has handed over 781 MTs of Dry Skimmed Milk (donation from ROK) to the DPRK government with strict guidelines for its use and 40 height measuring boards have been obtained for DPRK.

A consultant to UNICEF on IEC commenced a one month assignment in collaboration with Government counterparts to develop effective IEC strategies and materials. These materials will support programs in health, water, sanitation and hygiene.

A medical nutritionist with UNICEF commenced a review of ongoing nutrition rehabilitation in close cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health with a view to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the program.

UNICEF distributed 12,000 mattresses; 45,000 quilts (donation from Lutheran World Relief) to baby homes, orphanages, boarding schools, nurseries and kindergartens and 9,660 locally manufactured window-panes for children's institutions. In addition, it has initiated distribution of 50 MTs of calcium hypochlorite.

FALU (Food Liaison Unit) received 6.2 MTs ORS for hospitals.

IFRC's fourth quarter distribution of drugs will commence in September. ECHO has confirmed the extension of the drug distribution program for a further three months. Assessing drug stock distribution and consumption of drugs have proved difficult to evaluate. However, a positive response from the Ministry of Public Health should assist in improving evaluation methods. Distribution of hygiene kits for health institutions is currently underway. Likewise, the distribution of locally purchased 28,000 winter clothes (jackets, trousers, shoes and gloves), as well as 37,500 bedsheets and 5,000 blankets were distributed during June-July.

IFRC's efforts of training in diarrhoea control were organised in Hyansan, Kujang and Taechon counties.

IFRC conducted an assessment of the condition of water and sanitation in Jonju water reservoir, Jonju City Hospital, Sinuiju Provincial Hospital and general pump house, Sangdan reservoir and treatment works, Muksi Ri hospital and Unryong Ri clinic (North Pyongan province and Huichon Reservoir, Huichon City Hospital and Jisin-Dong Polyclinic (Chagang Province). The rehabilitation of the water supply systems was recommended through increasing the number of water taps; installing taps in emergency and intensive care units; gynaecology wards and improving and upgrading washing points for patients in hospitals and clinics.

MSF's (Médicins Sans Frontières) activities during July included supply of drug kits and basic medicines and other medical/surgical equipment (salter scales, examination kits and chlorine) to South Pyongan, Kangwon, North Hamgyong and North Hwanghae province. These items were distributed to gynaecology wards of county hospitals and Ri clinics. Malnourished children (under 5) were observed at feeding centres: 33 percent were noted to be severely malnourished in South Pyongan and 67 percent noted as moderately malnourished in Kangwon.

ACF received a first shipment of 120 MTs of cereal milk in Chongjin. Distributions are planned and scheduled to 1580 Nurseries in 11 counties of North Hamgyong. Distribution of hygiene kits to Nurseries and Kindergartens continued. The children centres will receive soap, shampoo, anti-lice/anti-scabies agents and detergent. 12,000 winter clothes are scheduled to be manufactured and distributed along with quilts to 42,000 children in North Hamgyong.

CESVI (Cooperazione e Sviluppo) received 40 MTs of drugs and medical equipment plus 13 MTs of supplementary food for children and some relief goods for distribution to South Hwanghae and Kaesong.

OXFAM completed a program review of their activities in DPRK. It assessed Water Treatment Stations in 28 counties and currently pricing reagents and chemicals to import during September to enable each county to test for a wide variety of water quality. This also applies to selected areas in Pyongyang city. Selected counties will also receive portable testing kits (DelAgua kits). New program plans to implement a micro-chlorination project at 10 sites to support in-country production of chlorine are currently being developed.

CAD's (Children's Aid Direct) second consignment of 20,000 blankets, all knitted by CAD volunteers in England, for nurseries and kindergartens of Sunchon City arrived in DPRK.


UNDP will provide 390 MTs of winter wheat seeds and CARITAS will contribute 4,000 MTs of fertilizer Urea for the winter double-crop program.

A FAO livestock mission noted the depletion of livestock in the country. Some categories of grain-fed animals have decreased to 25 percent production capacity with a severe shortage of preventive and curative veterinary drugs.

UNICEF has distributed 560 kg of vegetable seeds (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, costmary spinach) for summer planting; 50 sets of mushroom production equipment and supplies have been procured and await distribution by Government; distribution of Watering Hose and cans commenced to baby homes, orphanages, boarding schools, nurseries and kindergartens (440 institutions).

EU-DGVIII received deliveries of 20,000 MTs of Urea and 10,000 MTs of NKF (triple 15) for distribution to cooperative farms in South Hwanghae, North & South Pyongan and Kangwon provinces with some quantities delivered to municipalities in Nampo and Kaesong.

GAA (German Agro-Action) double-crop project (barley) showed good results with 3,580 MTs of grain produced out of 240 MTs of seed and 300 MTs of fertilizer.

CONCERN WORLDWIDE are preparing a multiple-cropping proposal for funding by DG-VIII for funding in 1999.

CAD's (Children's Aid Direct) Greenhouse project for the DG-VIII is near completion. In addition, iron bars for the SIDA funded Greenhouse program manufactured in DPRK have been delivered to five counties in South Pyongan. Plastic sheeting for the same project is due to arrive shortly for the building of a further 250 greenhouses. Seeds have been distributed to various counties to allow planting prior to transplantation to the greenhouses.

CARITAS' recent contribution of 1,000 MTs of Low Density Polythylene Resin to be used for the production of plastic sheets for agricultural production in 1999 and 13,000 square meters of plastic sheets will be distributed to 300 cooperative farms in North & South Pyongan and Hwanghae province.

This report is available on the internet through RELIEFWEB: http://www.reliefweb.int

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Field Coordination Unit - Pyongyang
Mr. Douglas Casson Coutts
Tel.: (850 2) 381 7298
Satellite: (872) 1507-451
Fax: (850 2) 381 7639
E-Mail: wfpdprk@public.east.cn.net

Complex Emergency Response /
Consolidated Appeal Process (CER/CAP) - Geneva
Mr. Ernest Chipman - Chief
Mr. Arjun Katoch
Tel.: (41 22) 788.1402
Fax: (41 22) 788.6386
Registry E-Mail: Abu.Conteh@dha.unicc.org

Complex Emergency Division (CED)- New York
Mr. David Chikvaidze
Tel.: (1 212) 963.9665
Fax: (1 212) 963.1388
E-Mail: chikvaidze@un.org

Information Service
Ms. Thérèse Gastaut - Director
Tel.: (41 22) 917.2300
Fax: (41 22) 917.0030
E-Mail: tgastaut@unog.ch

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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