DPR Korea OCHA Situation Bulletin Apr 2003

The spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in neighbouring China and other countries in the region is big challenge for DPRK. WHO has from the beginning of the outbreak and the health alert, raised by WHO in March, kept the Ministry of Public Health informed on SARS preparedness. This has been particular important because of the rapid development and spread of SARS, and the fact that health officials do not have access to internet and international health information resources. The WHO country office has updated the information on SARS on a daily basis, and kept in close contact with WHO offices in China and other countries on the latest assessments. WHO has also provided information and advice on SARS to the international organizations and embassies in Pyongyang. The proximity to China and the present status of the health services in the country makes the country vulnerable to SARS. The physical facilities in hospitals are poor, and the water and electricity problems are severely hampering the functioning of hospitals. This would make it difficult to isolate patients adequately and maintain proper hospital infection control. The lack of adequate medical supplies and equipment and the limited knowledge of barrier nursing techniques makes this even more complex. The caring for SARS patients is demanding on nursing skills. This is compounded by the fact that nursing remains an underdeveloped area in DPRK. Furthermore, the ability to handle patients that require intensive care is very limited. In early April WHO conducted a workshop on SARS preparedness for technical staff and officials from the Ministry of Public and other national health institutions. The workshop was based on the Interim guidelines on national SARS preparedness developed by WHO’s regional office in Manila. This has been followed up by two training programs for hospital staff on SARS and barrier nursing techniques. These training programs have been conducted with support of the health delegates of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

A WHO communicable disease expert in the country office is presently assisting Ministry of Public Health on issues related to SARS. In addition, as part of SARS preparedness, WHO has brought in a contingency stock of supplies focusing on Personal Protective Equipment to be used by health workers in case of any SARS outbreak in the country. Furthermore, WHO has proposed strengthening of hospital infection control nationwide, and has worked with Ministry of Public Health, other international agencies and donors in preparing support in terms of supplies and training activities. National authorities have taken strong measures, including quarantine regulations and travel restrictions, in trying to prevent introduction of SARS to the country. Although these measures go beyond WHO’s technical recommendations, they must be seen on the background on the strong need to avoid a SARS outbreak in DPRK. WHO will continue to support Ministry of Public Health as the multi-country outbreak develops and more information about SARS become available.


Compiled on the basis of information provided by the respective appealing agency to OCHA Headquarters, Geneva (correct as at 20 May 2003)



Three ECHO funded winter aid projects were terminated in late April due to disagreements over the procurement process between FDRC, ECHO and NGOs. The disagreement arose because FDRC wanted NGOs to procure locally manufactured doors and windows in order to support local industry. Whilst encouraging DPRK companies to compete in the tender process, under ECHO regulations NGOs are required to conduct an open international tender for large procurement orders. This is a global requirement for all ECHO partners in order to ensure best value for donor money is obtained.

During this tender process Chinese companies were more competitive than the DPRK supplier. Therefore they were selected as the successful supplier. Unfortunately NGOs could not import the items from China due to custom difficulties. Although ECHO and the NGOs tried to resolve the situation with FDRC a mutually acceptable solution could not be found. As a result ECHO terminated the three NGO projects that were affected by the import restrictions on windows and doors. It should be noted that the restrictions only applied to windows and doors procured under this programme.


The DPRK Humanitarian Coordinator and Designated Official declared Security Phase One throughout the country on April 23 after reviewing the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) situation in the region and given the limited facilities available to the United Nations for treating SARS cases in-country. Phase One is a precautionary phase, requiring UN travellers to obtain security clearance prior to proceeding to the DPRK.

The DPRK government adopted stringent measures to minimize the risk of a SARS epidemic in the country. The Ministry of Public Health issued directives that seek to quarantine, at the point of entry, all persons arriving from both SARS "affected" countries and those countries where any SARS cases have been recorded. All incoming passengers from these countries will be kept under observation and isolation in Anju City, North Pyongan province for 10 days. Passengers arriving from other countries are to be medically assessed at the airport and if found to display no symptoms are allowed to go to their residences and working as normal. All those displaying symptoms of SARS are to be taken to the isolation ward of the People's hospital in Anju City, some 75 km west of Pyongyang. At the end of April one WFP staff member was in quarantine, though a further seven were scheduled to arrive back in the country the following week and expected also to be placed in quarantine.

All flights to and from Beijing are suspended from May 6 for at least one month. Travel in and out of DPRK consequently will be limited to one weekly flight via Vladivostok in Russia. To further limit the access of foreigners to the country, authorities have stated that only single-entry visas would be granted to humanitarian workers after the expiry of their current multiple-entry visas. In addition, application for these visas must be made through DPRK missions abroad. The DPRK humanitarian community has appealed to the government on the visa and quarantine issues, as these significantly impact on humanitarian operations in the country. WFP has also taken up the issue with the DPRK representation in Rome. source: WFP DPRK April Monthly Report



AmeriCares, a US PVO, sent 19 mt of Ensure Nutrition Bars, valued at US$238,734 (wholesale value) to the DPRK in March. This shipment, which was scheduled to arrive in April, will be distributed to pregnant and nursing women at the ri level in South Pyongan and North Hwanghae Provinces.

AmeriCares have been providing humanitarian support to the DPRK since 1997.

For further information on AmeriCares please visit http://www.americares.org/main.asp


Support to Health Institutions. 6720 basic kits for distribution in the 2nd quarter of 2003 arrived on March 25. 6252 of 6720 kits were transported to city and county medical warehouses on April 10-28 while the rest of them were kept as buffer stock. Monitoring of this drug distribution will be conducted during the first half of May.

Health Promotion. Training of Trainers in first aid was done in Huichon city, Jagang province on April 22-24 for 17 participants from 9 counties in North Pyongan and Jagang. Materials for the First Aid posts was distributed at the same time. Five workshops on malaria prevention and care were organized for 100 nurses and midwives. Together with WHO, IFRC facilitated two workshops for the staff of hospitals which are designated as health centers for isolation and care of the suspected and affected SARS cases, if any.


National Health Day. Another 'National Child Health Day' will be carried out on May 20. Planning for this day has already been completed. Over 2 million children, 98% of the country's total, in all villages countrywide will receive Vitamin A supplements and de-worming.

Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI): EPI training was completed for 70 staff nationwide. The first round was for staff from the provincial and county level in the four provinces earmarked for Hepatitis B vaccine introduction this year. Second was training for cold-chain technicians from all provinces, held as part of the effort to improve vaccine cold-chain and vaccine handling. Immunisation services were provided in all provinces. One constraint continues to be the lack of county immunisation coverage reporting. Currently only provincial immunisation coverage reports are available. This is under discussion between UNICEF, WHO and the Ministry of Health. County reporting is important to identify counties where children are being missed.

A new child vaccination card to be retained by mothers is being introduced. 2 million of these cards are currently being printed and will be given to mothers of all children under 5. This will form the complete record of the child's immunisation status and will help in collecting information on immunisation coverage through surveys planned for later on in the year.

Essential Drugs: April medicine deliveries were made to South Hwanghae, Kaesong, Nampo and Pyongyang as scheduled in the 2003 annual delivery plan. Deliveries were however, one week late because of national holidays. Unfortunately, due to under funding, UNICEF is still able to only provide 5 very vital medicines. Field visits confirmed the availability of these basic items in health facilities. Almost all facilities visited were able to treat diarrhoea and respiratory infection on the day of the visit. This is a significant improvement on previous years.


The Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) Project Manager of the DPRK Red Cross Society, together with a Federation Health Delegate, visited the pilot project areas in Sunchon, Dokchon and Yangdok on 1-3 April in order to monitor the progress made in mitigation work and facilitate the integration of Community Based First Aid (CBFA) with CBDP. They noted that the first phase of mitigation work had been completed in keeping with the schedule and efforts are being made to accelerate the integration process.

A CBDP review workshop was held in Sunchon on 29-30 April. Present were Headquarters staff and representatives of

9 CBDP Ri's and Red Cross city/county branches. The participants reviewed the progress made in the first phase of the CBDP project and shared experience and lessons learned. They also looked round the sites of mitigation work in Sunchon and Dokchon to learn from the experience of other communities. The workshop provided an opportunity to review the work done so far and expand the project on the basis of the results already achieved.

The DPRK Red Cross arranged a field trip for members of the national and provincial Disaster Preparedness working groups to visit CBDP pilot project areas in Dokchon on 30 April. Having looked round the communities, they expressed satisfaction with the first step taken and, in particular, with the close cooperation between all parties concerned in the community, and agreed to continue supporting this process in the future.

A delegation composed of representatives of the British and Netherlands Red Cross Societies visited the DPRK on 5-

12 April to see how the projects funded by them are progressing.

The Head of the National Society Disaster Management Department made a presentation on integration of CBFA with CBDP at a CBFA Master Trainers' Course which took place in Huichon on 22 April. He also monitored the maintenance of a Regional DP warehouse there.

Disaster Management staff of the National Society and the Federation attended a Meeting on Natural Disaster Preparedness in the DPRK sponsored by OCHA on 21 April. They briefed representatives of UN agencies on the DPRK Red Cross Society / Federation DP / DR system and structure.


The previous water and sanitation co-ordinator left DPRK in early April after ending his mission. Fortunately the new water and sanitation delegate arrived just prior to the introduction of the new anti-SARS quarantine measures.

Two new engineers started working in DPRK Red Cross Society. The engineers started their mission in the field by constructing several Ecosan latrines, which are to be finalized in early May. These latrines will be models for future Ecosan latrines. The amount of cement for the Ecosan latrine was reduced according to a revised design of the latrine.

Wastewater systems are being constructed in 10 villages in North and South Pyongan provinces. During the month materials were ordered for the construction of the new systems.

A planned water and sanitation study tour to China in the beginning of April, was cancelled due to SARS.

A delegation from the Netherlands RC visited several installations in April. Netherlands RC is the contract holder with ECHO, which is funding 75 % of the RC water and sanitation project.

Agreements on handover and future maintenance of the water supply systems have been signed with three of the villages who received their systems during 2002. The remaining villages will sign these agreements in the coming months.


WFP food distributions are currently expected to meet cereal needs of the most vulnerable beneficiary groups into the fourth quarter, provided all confirmed contributions arrive as scheduled. During April, WFP cereal distributions to children in nurseries, kindergartens and to pregnant and nursing women continued without major gaps after the arrival of the ECHO shipment of 46,000 mt in the previous month. However, local food production activities faced shortages in constituent commodities, especially soybeans, for the production of the enriched blended foods for the youngest children and pregnant and nursing women.

In an effort to reach the most vulnerable groups - young children and pregnant and nursing women - WFP cereal rations will be suspended in May to some other groups - the elderly, caregivers, and some child institutions on both east and west coasts. However, cereal distributions to all targeted groups should be restored in June with the arrival of the Republic of Korea maize donation. Further cuts in these distributions are expected in the fourth quarter unless additional contributions are received.

A Canadian contribution of USD 2.5 million for the purchase of 5,500 mt of pulses and a cash contribution of USD 0.2 million from Finland have been confirmed. Pipeline shortfalls of about 120,000 mt remain for the rest of the year. Specifically, these include cereals (95,000 mt); pulses (9,500 mt); Corn Soya Milk (9,000 mt); sugar (3,500 mt) and oil (3,000 mt). These are essential to ensuring the continued implementation of the full range of WFP's planned activities throughout the remainder of the year.


Weather conditions were generally favourable for seasonal agriculture activities during the month. Potato and maize sowing were completed and farmers are currently working on paddy fields in preparation for rice transplanting, to commence from the middle of May. Local officials report that spring and winter wheat and barley crops are growing well.

As reported, household stocks of alternative foods (wild edible grass, etc) collected before the onset of winter, have since run out in most areas. These foods supplement government rations and are a primary coping measure for urban households during the harsh winter months. With the start of warmer weather, families have begun to gather spring herbs and wild vegetables in the inland areas, and fish and seaweed on the coast. Urban populations living in mountainous regions have no access to herbs and vegetables at this time, as cooler temperatures have slowed spring vegetation. With limited assistance from rural relatives due to scarce arable land, urban families in these areas are the most vulnerable to food insecurity, especially at the start of the lean season.

Emergency officers monitored provincial child health institutions during the month. The most common child illnesses in paediatric hospitals and wards were reported to be colds and flues, bronchitis, digestive diseases (diarrhoea, indigestion), and meningitis in some institutions. Drug supplies are limited and doctors use traditional medicines to treat illnesses. Children suffering from malnutrition are provided with WFP-supplied high-energy, fortified rice-milk-blend foods. These health institutions do not have sufficient resources to provide meals or snacks for in-patients and families are expected to bring food from home for their hospitalised children.

Government daily food rations provided through Public Distribution Centres (PDCs) in April were maintained at 300 grams/person/day, composed of varying proportions of maize and rice. Local authorities have indicated that PDC rations will be reduced to 250 grams/person/day from May -- signalling the onset of the lean season.

The country office Programme unit organized two workshops and an all-day retreat in April, as most field staff were back in Pyongyang for the national holiday week. The refresher-training workshop discussed field staff roles and responsibilities within the DPRK context, security in the field and sub-office management, while the monitoring and needs assessments workshop focused on food security and nutrition issues. The retreat was an opportunity for international staff to air their concerns to management and propose solutions on a variety of issues.

Monitoring and Access

Monitoring activities were limited during the month. FFW assessment missions by regional teams and the FFW unit in the first half of April continued in all provinces, leading to a subsequent decrease in monitoring of vulnerable group feeding activities. In addition, monitoring visits were negatively impacted by the national holidays in the middle of the month and the measures imposed by the DPRK government in response to the worldwide SARS crisis.

Due to SARS-related quarantine and travel restrictions, there was a 25% reduction in monitoring visits by international emergency officers in the latter part of April. The government also imposed restrictions on access to counties located on the border with China, with the Sinuiju sub-office closed until further notice.


A total of 92 projects for about 23,200 mt were approved for the FFW spring season, 75% (68 projects) on the east and 25% (24 projects) on the west coast, targeting the most vulnerable counties and benefiting about 600,000 persons directly. As WFP cereal stocks are low, the government agreed to loan some 9,000 mt of commodities from their own stocks to distribute the initial fifty percent of the FFW rations for the east coast projects. This loan will be re-paid in kind, on a 1:1 basis, upon the arrival of the German wheat shipment in early May.

During the month, opportunities for interagency collaboration were explored. WFP discussed possible FFW project options with UNICEF to support their water and sanitation projects in WFP-supported child institutions in Ryanggang and North Hamgyong provinces for the autumn FFW window. Concern Worldwide, an Irish NGO, and WFP will collaborate on a reforestation and soil conservation project in South Pyongan province, with a WFP food aid input of about 800 mt. A proposal to this effect will be submitted by Concern through the government to WFP.

WFP Local Food Production

Total output for April was about 4,130 mt, with most of the 18 factories operating during the month. Insufficient wheat and wheat flour supplies affected noodle and CB (cereal blend) production in Pyongyang, while the Hamhung CSB (corn soya blend) factory shifted to producing CB as maize and soya stocks ran out. Maintenance and repairs, along with problems in power supply also hampered production in the factories. The LFP unit minimized loss in production by instituting transfers of constituent commodities between the factories to ensure continued operations.

During the month, WFP agreed with the government to purchase wheat-milling equipment for the Munchon biscuit factory in Kangwon province. It was also agreed that one of the Pyongyang-based LFP trucks would be positioned in Sinuiju to assist the biscuit and noodle factories, mainly in the movement of raw food materials and packaging.


Caritas Hong Kong signed an agreement with FDRC on 22 April for the provision of 104.8 mt of canned meat. The meat will be distributed to pregnant nursing women, children in baby homes, children centres, boarding schools and paediatric hospitals in Kangwon, South and North Hamgyong and Ryanggang province. The donation valued at approximately US$490,000 has been granted by Mennonite Central Committee, Pennsylvania. Estimated time of arrival in DPRK is mid -May.

Shipment Arrivals

Caritas Hong Kong donation of 9,388 sets of underwear for children in 15 Boarding schools was dispatched on 22 April from Pyongyang Women's Garment Centre to the FDRC warehouse in Pyongyang. The value of this donation is US$ 31,191. This project concludes the 2003 provision of autumn and winter underwear sets to children in all three level of Residential Child's Care Institution in DPRK.

ACT/Diakonie. 500,000 m2 of plastic sheets arrived in Pyongyang on 28 April to be distributed to 7,554 farmer households in Maegansan County (South Pyongan), to be used within their work-team agricultural activities. The value of this grant is US$32,000. This donation follows a previous provision to same target group of 300 Mt of NPK, 900,000 m2 of Plastic sheets and 20,000 pieces of spades and hoes, and intend to provide the co-operative farm households more potential to enhance increase of food production at both household and work-team level.

Caritas Hong Kong donation of 38 mt soap arrived in country on 29 April. Distribution will be to 39 residential child care institutions (baby homes, children centres and boarding schools). The value of this donation is approximately US$27,000.

Caritas Hong Kong donation of 63 gardening kits to be distributed to 39 residential child care institution in support of gardening activity for production of vegetables at institution level. The kits contain 43 selected and very useful pieces. The value of this donation is US$22,400.


Caritas Hong Kong issued an "Emergency Appeal for the ongoing food and health crisis in DPRK" for the period, April 1, 2003 to March 31, 2004. The Appeal seeks US$ 2.67 million to assist in the sectors of food aid, health care, food security (agriculture), capacity building and training in the DPRK. Priority project locations are the provinces of the east coast and in the north east. The planned assistance in the food aid sector amounted at 37% of the total appealed. Caritas began supporting the people of DPRK since 1995. Special appeals are launched every year and so far humanitarian aid valued at over US$27 million has been provided with support from Catholic and non-Catholic alike with the believes that humanitarian aid and development initiatives as well as peace and reconciliation efforts are needed to stabilize and improve the situation of millions of people.

For further information on the appeal please contact Kathi Zellweger, Director International Cooperation, Caritas Hong Kong: Telephone No.: (852) 2522 9211 or (852) 2524 2071 ext. 211. Fax No.: (852) 2523 0438. Email Address: zellweger@caritas.org.hk


Since autumn 1995, Caritas has been providing assistance to the DPRK in the areas of food aid, food security, and health, valued at over US$25 million. Relief goods delivered through the FALU mechanism amounted to approx. US$ 18 million. Caritas-Hong Kong, the lead agency for the worldwide Caritas network, plans interventions, handles shipments and works closely with the DPRK authorities (FDRC and line ministries) as well as UN agencies and NGOs. In line with the agreed Humanitarian Principles, aid is only provided to counties/cities accessible to international monitors.

CARITAS supports vulnerable groups primarily in the three east coast provinces of North & South Hamgyong, Kangwon and more recently also Ryanggang. In the past years, CARITAS has been donating high-value commodities such as oil, sugar, and pulses in order to provide for a more balanced food basket. Pregnant and nursing women, children in residential institutions and in nurseries and kindergartens are among the main beneficiaries.

To enhance agricultural productivity, CARITAS has, since 1996, provided agricultural inputs to cooperative farms in close collaboration with UNDP/AREP. Provisions worth over US$ 7 million included fertiliser, pesticides with protective equipment and sprayers, plastic sheeting for seed propagation, tractor tires, trucks etc. More recently a project in reforestation and an involvement in fish farming started.

In collaboration with WHO and UNICEF, CARITAS began working in the health sector and several shipments of drugs, equipment and medical supplies reached county and village hospitals or clinics. Other non-food items donated include children's clothing, socks, and shoes, eating utensils, toys, soap etc.


From Competence Centres to Extension Farms

In 2002 the SDC Agricultural project worked with 5 Co-operative farms in the North Hwangae and the South Hamhung provinces. These farms, one in each of 5 counties, were supplied with agricultural inputs and investments in the form of machinery and material. This year and under the new plan for 2003 to 2004 of the Korean-Swiss Agricultural Support Programme, the assistance was extended to 3 extra farms in the same counties, a overall total of 15. The instrument central to this extension effort was the "Dissemination Kit". The dissemination farm kit is an instrument to enable farms in the counties where the programme has been working (in the competence centres) to benefit from the lessons learnt in the first phase of the project. These lessons included:

  • approved rotation of cultures,
  • improved varieties that have been tested, and
  • appropriate machinery to compensate for the extra labour needed to obtain a higher farm production.

It is evident that the project has not finished to learn all the "lessons" that are to be learnt. In many respects the project is still searching for the best method. Nevertheless in order to avoid becoming encrusted in a role of creating model farms, it was felt that an early dissemination of the results of previous years was necessary. In any case the situation in the country is constantly evolving and new adaptations will have to be made year by year.

This year it was decided that more rather than less farms be included in the first year of the dissemination phase. Accordingly 15 farms were added to the farms collaborating with the project. This necessitated a partnership with the county level extension service and transport and equipment was reserved in the budget to enable the counties to take on the responsibility of following-up the work on the dissemination farms. Each farm was given the choice of seed, fertiliser, chemicals and machinery and equipment from the development programme. The basic unit of the equipment was a "kit" composed of what had proven to be the most useful equipment. This was a small tractor (40 HP) with a plough, disc harrow and drill.


The duties of the Agricultural Committee in the counties where the SDC extension programme is carried out, were negotiated and an agreement was reached. Elements of this agreement were that the Agricultural Committee agrees to appoint one person to follow-up activities on the "extension" farms. The person will assure that all elements of the "starter kit" reach the farms and that the cropping plan is respected. The agricultural officer will act as a link between the research farms, the competence centres and the extension farms and will bring together farmers from the three institutions to compare results.

Training for extension.

The farmers and county officials objected to a proposed training programme based on season related training topics such as land preparation, harvesting etc. They claimed that they did not need training on such basic agricultural activities. On the other hand they ask for training on new varieties tested by the project, new machines delivered and new ideas. It is certainly true that the extension system is well structured and that basic messages have been delivered efficiently. In addition, the target group is farm managers and personnel that are literate and often well educated. In the light of the above, a training method is envisaged which has the following characteristics:

  • Concentrates on immediate problems of the farmers.
  • Makes use of audio-visual aids
  • Instead, in training sessions, subjects will be presented as ideas and the participants are encouraged to discuss and analyse the suitability of these ideas for their specific situation. Ideas from other countries are presented and discussed.
  • Short and localised to fit in with the heavy work schedules of the farmers during the growing season.
  • Lecture-type training sessions are banned.


In conclusion, the project, with its aid to production farms, to seed farms, to extension services and to the county workshops, is trying, with its limited means, to restart the agricultural development process in the counties where it is present. It is felt that at this moment (with yields relatively high in good years) that the promotion of agricultural development will create synergies between the different actors in the rural areas and this will create new opportunities for increasing agricultural production.


SDC is the acronym for the Swiss Agency of Development and Co-operation. The Agency of Development and Co-operation belongs to Switzerland's federal Department of External Affairs. The mission goals of SDC are:

  • Improvement of the life conditions of women and men,
  • Protection of life and direct aid to victims of natural and man made catastrophes,
  • Collaboration in the Swiss Foreign Policy design and contribution to solutions of problems on international level.

The operational activities of SDC are split among four branches:
  • Bilateral Development co-operation
  • Multilateral Development Co-operation
  • Co-operation with Eastern Europe and the CIS (former Soviet Union States)
  • Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit


Sustainable Production of Fuelwood and Fodder in South Pyon'gan Province -- a SIDA funded project

Monitoring In the field to observe the installation of irrigation equipment and transplantation of trees to the hills and mountains took place in April. Inspection of delivered items such as mini tractor with accessories was also carried out during these field trips.

WFP and the FDRC have agreed to the Food for Work component of this project. The food assistance will be given to those workers involved in the creation of a dynamic terracing plot and those involved in transplantation of saplings, both due to take place later in the year.

Concern is currently recruiting a consultant to be based in country for a short period. The consultant will work with dynamic terracing and transplanting of saplings in order to build up the local capacity of tree nursery management.

The study tour that supposed to be held at Beijing Forestry University has been postponed due to SARS.

Food Security Activities

A visit by the CABI Bioscience team proved fruitful and useful. The farms involved in this IPM project seem enthusiastic and keen to implement techniques that are being taught. The CABI technicians were in DPRK to manage a series of training activities in farmer field schools.


Under an AidCo funded project, low-grade materials are being used by local work teams in the construction of pump houses. This is contrary to agreed protocol. The pump houses are being covered with plasterwork to make the structures look better. The Project Manager has insisted that a number of unsafe buildings be taken down and rebuilt. Continued monitoring of structures proved useful and a number of pump houses are completed and awaiting the arrival of pumps. In May, it is anticipated that 120 pump houses should be completed by this month along with several culverts.


UNICEF Representative, Richard Bridle, made a visit to Seoul from 12 to 18 April. There he met officials of the Ministry of Unification and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; the leaders of both major political parties in the National Assembly and other parliamentarians; the ROK Red Cross, Korean Committee for UNICEF, National Commission for UNESCO and other civil society figures; academic institutions; and international and national media.

He thanked the government for its recent contributions to the UN agencies (WFP, WHO and UNICEF) for humanitarian action in the DPRK, noting that this sends an important signal of confidence to other donors. He encouraged the ROK to continue in this trend and increase its involvement through multilateral channels both for the DPRK and elsewhere in the developing world.

Richard noted two important trends in the ROK. On the one hand, the new administration is clearly showing increased commitment and vigour in its policy of engagement with the north. This appears to have general bi-partisan support.On the other hand, there is a growing debate in South Korea on issues of transparency and accountability of aid to the north, summed up in the Korean word "pojugi", roughly translated as "indiscriminate giving". He noted that contributions through the multilateral agencies did indeed ensure transparency and accountability. The agencies have shown their ability to achieve results for the vulnerable in the DPRK, especially children, as shown in the findings of the 2002 nutrition assessment. Further, through enhanced information exchange, the agencies based in Pyongyang can help to improve the effectiveness of assistance from the ROK, both bilateral and through South Korean NGOs.


The OCHA Office has produced a HDRC CD-ROM for distribution to interested parties working in humanitarian and development activities in the DPRK. The Humanitarian Development Resource Centre (HDRC) is another OCHA initiative designed to enhance the exchange of humanitarian and development information in the DPRK.

"The HDRC CD-ROM is a collection of primary documentation on recent humanitarian and development work relating to the DPRK. The purpose is firstly, to make this material more accessible by assembling it together. Secondly, to demonstrate that despite the contrary impression, a wealth of humanitarian information actually exists in the public domain. Thirdly, to show that the humanitarian and development community in DPRK is active, and that collaboration continues to grow. I am convinced that the sharing of information in this positive spirit will contribute to an improved humanitarian response, and enrich the dialogue on development issues in the DPRK."

Masood Hyder
Humanitarian Coordinator
United Nations - DPR Korea

Copies of the HDRC CD-Rom are available to the humanitarian and development community. Copies can be collected from the HDRC in Munsudong, Pyongyang.

The OCHA Office in DPRK produces this Bulletin on the basis of information supplied by contributing organizations and public sources

Sweden is funding the OCHA Office in 2003


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