DPRK

DPR Korea OCHA Situation Bulletin Aug/Sep 2004

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


CAP 2005 and HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
During the month of August it was announced that the government would not participate nor support the CAP (Consolidated Appeals Process) document for 2005. On the 15th September, the FDRC Director for External Affairs, Mr. Jong Yun Hyong addressed the international aid community and explained why the Government had decided not to support a Consolidated Appeal for 2005. He cited the following reasons:

  • Emergency humanitarian assistance has continued for over nine years in DPRK, while in other countries it is usually of a much shorter duration.

  • The DPRK Government, in view of the prevailing security situation, is not in a position to accommodate all the requirements raised by international organizations, especially regarding monitoring and access.

  • The feelings and sentiments of the Korean people were also considered in the decision-making process, especially concerning monitoring and access.

Mr. Jong Yun Hyong also requested that international organizations simplify step-by-step procedures for monitoring and access and reduce their staff in accordance with the requirements of concerned domestic partners including line ministries and the people of DPRK. However, the Government remains open to bilateral cooperation from other countries and international organizations and any kind of assistance with simplified monitoring and access procedures is welcomed. In particular, the Government welcomes more technical assistance as well as development-oriented support focused on strengthening local capacity building.

A group of UN agencies and NGOs has been formed to discuss and address the above matter on behalf of International Aid Organizations. This group meets weekly and reports back to the International Aid community. It has been agreed that though there will be no formal CAP document, coordination of activities in 2005 will still continue via the regular sector meetings.

In addition, a delegation of senior representatives from the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) led by Mr. Jean-Jacques Graisse, Deputy Executive Director of WFP, will visit Pyongyang from the 26th to 30th October, to discuss with the Government operational issues and modalities for the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the future.

FOOD AID LIAISON UNIT (FALU)

The following provides a brief description of FALU's activities:

In 1996, a group of NGOs established the Food Aid Liaison Unit (FALU) to operate as a separate entity but within the WFP DPRK umbrella to support non-resident NGOs with programming, monitoring and reporting on humanitarian assistance. NGOs use WFP as an "implementing agency", reversing the usual NGO-WFP mode of co-operation. Operational costs for FALU are paid by a consortium of 2 full members and 2 associate members' organisations, including:

  • CARITAS -The world-wide CARITAS network (Rome)
  • CFGB - Canadian Foodgrains Bank (Winnipeg)
  • Diakonie - Diakonie Germany
  • WVI - World Vision International (Monrovia CA)

Other NGOs who have made substantial contributions recently include MCC Mennonite Central Committee (Canada) and CARITAS (Germany).

FALU advises NGOs on all aspects of relief aid to DPRK. This includes geographic and beneficiary targeting, advice on appropriate commodities and timing of inputs. More importantly, FALU monitors the distribution, use and impact of donations and reports back to the donors. Being part of the larger WFP monitoring network (which includes five sub-offices throughout DPRK) offers a variety of advantages to non-resident NGOs:

  • A team of international staff to monitor commodities.
  • Support from the well-established WFP administration and logistics departments.
  • UN status, which provides special protection to FALU staff.

In terms of accessing vulnerable groups, FALU often spearheads relief to "new" target groups such as children in baby homes and boarding schools, the elderly, the deaf or other groups with specific needs.

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

WHO - Strengthening of County Hospitals. The project for the physical rehabilitation of operating theatres and providing essential surgical equipment and supplies to 15 county hospitals is on its way to completion. Some of these hospitals are located in North Hamhung Province including counties such as Undok in the far north-east of DPRK. This project will strengthen the capacity of the hospitals to perform surgery under better conditions, and with the provision of electricity and running water, it will now be possible to perform surgery all year round. This has been possible with a financial contribution from ECHO and enthusiastic support from both the local county authorities and MOPH.

WHO TB Programme. Monitoring and evaluation are areas that need to be strengthened in the TB control programme. The purpose of monitoring and evaluation is to measure the programme's effectiveness, identify problem areas and address weaknesses in the programme design, gather lessons learned and improve overall performance. Though reporting and supervision have been improved, data analysis, data management and planning remain weak. Currently, there is still very limited epidemiological data that can be used to measure progress. To emphasize the importance of programme monitoring and evaluation, WHO/SEARO organized a workshop on Surveillance and Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in New Delhi from 21-24 September and 4 participants from DPR Korea attended. The most important objective of the workshop was to review and discuss the merits and disadvantages of current TB surveillance, and review monitoring and evaluation methodologies in use by member countries in the region. The workshop contents and materials were recognized by the participants as comprehensive and useful.

UNFPA Pyongyang completed its first ECHO funded project in September 2004. An external evaluation found evidence that the project had contributed towards its goal of improving the reproductive health (RH) of the local communities, through the provision of supplies and drugs and through building the capacity of local health professionals. In addition, it found that the project was having an influence on the knowledge and attitudes of national level staff, which contributed to broader changes in the system. It is only through engagement and the building of trust with the local counterparts that greater openness and commitment can be achieved. Increasing their capacity and encouraging more confidence will facilitate a more enabling environment for development to take place.

A review of UNFPA's bridging assistance in 2004 was held in September with the participation of UNFPA NY and UNFPA Beijing. Preliminary results of assessments in the three provinces where UNFPA is working, South Phyongan, South Hamgyong and Kangwon provinces, including "Training Needs Assessment" and "Reproductive Health Survey" were released during the review process. In addition, it was also decided to extend UNFPA's bridging activities into 2005 to continue to address the issue of Reproductive Health, including improving maternal health care and availability of contraceptives, strengthening health data collection and Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS), and advocating for an International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

ADRA DPR Korea has completed the implementation of the Hygiene and Nutrition Distribution Project funded by the German Foreign Ministry. The project distributed hygiene and nutrition kits to 22 county hospitals in South Hamyong and North Hwangae provinces. The kits included general purpose soap, washing powder, antibacterial soap, and a high energy fortified food supplement.

Providing adequate nutrition to patients in acute care facilities is vital to recovery and disease resistance. County hospitals in the DPRK are, however, severely limited in both the quantity and quality of food available to patients. The ADRA nutrition kits were targeted at both in-patients and out-patients under the prescription of a medical officer. Effective targeting of food to at-risk out-patients reduced the incidence of patients requesting hospital admission for treatment of malnourishment by up to two thirds, thereby significantly reducing the burden on health care resources by reducing demand for lengthy and costly treatments. Furthermore, the recovery time of those admitted for treatment of malnourishment was reduced by as much as half, again helping significantly in improving the coverage of health sector resources. In one county, mortality due to diarrhoeal or digestive disorders was stated as being reduced by at least 50% this summer, as a result of a more sanitary environment and the increased availability of high quality fortified food supplements.

As county hospitals do not receive supplies of hygiene materials from any other source, most of these facilities suffer from high cross-infection rates, lengthy recovery times due to infections caused by lack of sanitation, and a lack of confidence in the general population in formal health care services. All of these issues contribute to inefficiencies in the application of the scarce resources within the health sector, and limit the impact of investments aimed at improving health care outcomes. Availability of hygienic products was shown to significantly increase the numbers of patients presenting themselves for procedures such as dental work and maternal health check-ups, due to the removal of unpleasant odours and stains on equipment, bandages, and linen. Early and more frequent admissions to hospital have been shown by research to significantly improve overall health care outcomes and reduce the costs of standard procedures.

With the availability of washing powder, linen is washed 2 to 4 times more frequently. The previous practice was to wash blankets twice per month, and sheets and pillowcases every 10 days. Due to the inability to access cleaning products, linen was previously washed with water only, and boiled for sterilisation leaving unsightly stains that can harbour infections and discourage patients from seeking admission for treatment. Within all the target hospitals, this summer season saw the near elimination of cross infections attributed to bed linen, and reusable bandages. Cross infection through staff contact was also greatly reduced by use of the antibacterial hand wash. Some patients were supplied with the hand wash for use at home in order to reduce the likelihood of the patient gaining an infection in their wounds - a mechanism that was stated to be very successful in reducing the return of patients for follow-up treatment for infections.

The project has been highly successful in facilitating broader coverage given the limited resources within the sector, and demonstrates that low cost investment in hygiene and nutrition can create synergies that multiply the impact of other sector inputs on the health and well-being of the population.

ADRA DPR Korea is extensively involved in the health sector within the DPRK, with activities including the design and construction of the new Ryongchon county hospital following the devastating train blast in April 2004, rehabilitation of county hospitals, rehabilitation of child care institutions, and rehabilitation of a paediatric hospital. ADRA DPR Korea also incorporates in some health projects low cost sustainable technologies it has developed for the DPRK, such as solar water heating, and hospital biogas waste management and energy production systems. For more information please contact Marcel Wagner at adradprk.cd@kcckp.net.

FOOD AID

WFP - With the arrival of several wheat contributions, all but 900,000 beneficiaries received their cereal rations in August and September. With the expected arrival of new contributions in the coming weeks, WFP will be able to provide rations to all beneficiaries from mid-October until the first months of 2005, and pay back outstanding loans. This is the first time in over two years that WFP has been able to feed all beneficiaries with planned rations. However, any delay in the shipments would mean further distribution cuts for WFP beneficiaries.

WFP Operational Review. There were some variations in the Public Distribution System (PDS) rations between counties in August and September. While most counties were able to increase the ration to 350 gr./p/day from 300 in July, others had to keep it at 300 or decrease it to 250. The composition was mainly potatoes, wheat and barley from local production, although some counties began to distribute rice from a bilateral ROK loan. Rice is highly valuable to the households at a time when rice prices in the markets have tripled in the last two months, from 240 won/kg (USD 1.50) to more than 700 won/kg (USD 4.30). Furthermore, as rice is the preferred staple food for Koreans, food insecure families can barter their rice rations for larger quantities of maize - a less popular staple - and thus obtain more food for the family.

To analyse the food intake amongst beneficiaries during the traditionally lean season of May-August, one hundred and eleven (111) 24-hour recall interviews were analysed using the NutriSurvey data programme. It was discovered that pregnant PDS-dependent women were only able to cover 75% of their energy needs. 600kcal, or the equivalent of one meal, was missing daily. Despite this, these women did have a relatively good intake of micronutrients, mainly due to the fortified blended foods they receive from WFP in combination with fresh fruits and vegetables available during summer months. However, iron and folic acid, potassium and calcium were below the recommended daily intake. The inadequate iron and folic acid intake is particularly worrying, both from a public health point of view and for the development of unborn children.

Food for Work (FFW). For the autumnal season, it has been decided that WFP FFW projects will be carried out in 106 counties. The total food allocation will be approximately 20,000 mt. 80% of this will be oriented to the 80 most vulnerable counties as identified by the new vulnerability list and the remaining 20% to less vulnerable counties, mainly in the North-east provinces. Many of these North-Eastern counties were regarded as the most vulnerable during the spring season. In September, FDRC submitted 79 project proposals for the FFW autumn season. The proposals come from 54 counties in 9 provinces: Kangwon (4), S. Hamgyong (15), N. Hamgyong (6), Ryanggang (6), Chagang (2), N. Phyongan (6), S. Phyongan (17), and N. Hwanghae (8), S. Hwanghae (15). The total requested amount of food is 20,150 mt. On September 13, WFP began field assessing the proposals and by the end of the month, 40 project proposals had been field assessed. Following the field assessment, proposals will go to the Project Review Committee, which will make the final decision during October.

WFP - Local Food Production (LFP). The total output in August was 5,780mt including 2,201mt of biscuits, 3,148mt of blended foods, 34mt of Rice Milk Blend and 326mt of noodles. This is equivalent to 90% of the EMOP monthly requirement. During the reporting period, WFP LFP factories received 2,500mt of wheat from Russia, 5,700mt of wheat flour from Australia and 700mt of sugar donated by Caritas through FALU. However, sugar stocks were still not sufficient to restore sugar in the Cereal Milk Blend (CMB) recipe. It was therefore decided that a new Italian contribution of Euro 3 million would be used to purchase 2,500mt of sugar and 1,000mt DSM. These commodities will supplement wheat, maize, rice and soybeans in the production of biscuits and fortified blended foods. The total output in September was over 5,000mt or 85% of EMOP monthly requirement. This includes over 2,000mt of biscuits, more than 2,500mt of CSM/CMB, over 330mt of noodles and 44mt of RMB. The latter is the highest output registered for RMB since production began.

The two main factors contributing to the low production of the blended foods in September were the pipeline breaks in maize and soybeans, which slowed down Corn Soya Milk (CSM) production, particularly in Chongjin, and the delayed start up of the newly procured Cereal Milk Blend factory in Huichon. Despite the successful installation of a CMB mixer in August, the factory could not start pilot production because of the delayed delivery of milk powder and packaging materials. When the new mixer is fully operational, CMB production will increase by 600mt per month. This will ensure a regular daily ration of 100g of fortified CMB to almost 200,000 children in nurseries/kindergartens on the West Coast.

Production of biscuits was slowed down because of the delayed procurement of packaging materials, particularly the inner bags. The inner bags are used for pre-packaging biscuits before placing them in cartons to prevent crumbling during transportation. Though procurement of the packaging materials is currently underway, it will take another month before they reach the factories. In the meantime, the factories will continue production and temporarily pack the biscuits directly in the boxes without inner bags to ensure supplies of the daily snacks reach the primary school children.

Hamhung noodle factory has finished reconstruction of the drying oven and resumed production of dried noodles in September. The factory was stopped in August by the LFP unit due to excessive moisture in the finished product. However, lack of noodles did not affect the beneficiary ration in South Hamgyong province as the noodle ration for the recipients, i.e. pregnant and nursing mothers, was replaced with CSM/CMB processed in the Hamhung blended foods factory.

Soybeans and maize arrived in September and are under transportation to CSM factories in Pyongyang, Hamhung and Chongjin. The current stock of soybeans will last till year-end, and stocks of maize are enough to maintain production till March-April 2005.

Mrs. Nicky Downer - wife of the Australian Foreign Minister - visited the noodle factory in Pyongyang during August, which is using wheat flour donated by the government of Australia to produce fortified noodles for pregnant and nursing women. Following the much-appreciated visit, Australia announced a new contribution of Euro 3 million worth of wheat flour to WFP LFP factories.

Commodity Arrivals. The 34,700mt of bulk wheat donated from Russia, which arrived on MV Kallisto at the end of July, was dispatched at Nampo port. The donation was the largest part of an $11 million dollar contribution by Russia, the first ever through WFP. There were also arrivals of 1,710 mt of wheat flour donated by Australia, and of 2,452 mt of beans, 1,484mt of vegetable oil and 1,978 mt of CSB donated from the US. In September, the first shipment of Japanese donated commodities started arriving. In total 125,000mt will arrive between September and December.

DWHH/GAA has implemented a food aid project (project 1024) in North Pyong'an Province from May to October 2004, financed by the German Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs. With this project, the food aid sector of DWHH/GAA has been able to extend its already existing project of food aid supplies for kindergarten children in 8 counties, to another vulnerable group, pregnant and lactating women.

During the project period, 50,523 women received a daily ration of 25 ml edible oil, 115 mg of mungbeans, 20 mg of iodised salt and 125 mg of rice for three months. These food components have been supplemented by fortified food from WFP (CMB and noodles).

The project intended to improve the food availability for one of the most vulnerable groups during the most difficult time of the year, which is the lean period from May to August. Emphasis was laid on food components which cannot be provided in the country such as fortified oil, iodised salt and mungbeans. These food items play an important role in the development of the unborn or newborn child due to their high micro-nutritious value.

Food distribution points were established to ensure easy access for the women to collect the food. A total of 90 distribution points were set up, 2 to 3 in each city and 1 in each Ri. A documentation system was introduced at all steps of the distribution. In addition, 48 women have been visited and interviewed in order to collect information about the food situation at the family level. The results have shown a very different picture from family to family, depending on the location (either urban or rural), the availability of a home garden and animals, and the support received through relatives from rural areas. Furthermore it has also shown that private support and markets are now playing a more significant role in the provision of food staples.

DWHH/GAA. The implementation of the project "Rehabilitation of Cooperatives and County Repair Workshops in South Hwanghae Province" started in November 2002, having a project life until August 2004. Funding was provided by the EuropeAid Co-operation Office/ Food Security Office and German Agro Action.

The agricultural production of DPR Korea is highly mechanised in comparison to other Asian agrarian structures. Since the breakdown of the centrally planned economy, agricultural cooperatives have had difficulties in finding spare parts and other material to maintain and service agricultural machinery. Therefore, the project objective was to improve the food security situation in all project counties and cooperative farms, by rehabilitating the agricultural workshops of 34 cooperative farms and 4 county workshops. Besides equipping the workshops with machinery and tools necessary for the maintenance of agricultural machinery, the provision of spare parts for tractors, e.g. pistons, bearings, tires or fuel pumps, was an important component in improving the running period of tractors and machinery on the cooperative farms.

The primary beneficiaries were the families of the 34 cooperative farms - 118.000 members of the cooperatives and the families of the 4 county workshops. The project was located in South Hwanghae Province, which is an important province for national food production. The cooperative farms were in the counties of Sinchon (10 cooperatives), Yonan (6 cooperatives), Jaeryong (6 cooperatives), Pyoksong (5 cooperatives), as well as one cooperative out of the following counties: Kangryong, Taetan, Chongdan, Samchon, Unchon, Jangyon and Bangchon. The county workshops of Sinchon, Yonan, Jaeryong and Pyoksong took part in the project.

Outcome of the Project:

  • The project resulted in the rehabilitation of 4 County Workshops and 34 Cooperative Farm Workshops for repairing tractors and agricultural machinery in South Hwanghae.

  • The quality of the repair work improved the number of operational tractors considerably. The quantity of maintained tractors and machinery increased by 50% more than the previous repair rate, thereby greatly increasing food production.

  • The capacity of local management assigned to the project sites and provincial agricultural engineering staff has been greatly strengthened.

WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION

Concern. Both water and sanitation projects in Dokchon and Hoichang ended during August and September. Concern awaits confirmation of a second phase of these watsan projects to be funded by ECHO. During September, Concern's Health technical advisor and the Watsan Project Manager travelled with Save the Children Fund to Tanchon to provide assistance in an end-of-project evaluation of SCF's Watsan project.

Triangle. Watsan programme in 8 cooperative farms and one county hospital in South Pyongan. The main component of this ECHO funded programme is the rehabilitation of the water supply system from the pumping station via the distribution network to the outside of houses and homes. The FDRC took in charge the pipe installation and connection directly from houses to the water network. The system is now installed, though subsequent testing of the electrical pumps found that due to the low voltage, the pumping stations require voltage regulators and stabilizers. Thanks to additional support from ECHO, Triangle will install these items in the near future.

Triangle. A pilot sanitation component will evaluate the efficiency of three different types of latrines: a biogas unit, a movable individual latrine pit system, and an Ecosan type latrine (dry composting pit system), that have been installed in different institutions (schools and hospitals). Triangle's partner, the Ministry of City Management, is starting the technical evaluation.

Triangle is installing 2 pilot solar pumping systems in Pyongwon county hospital and Songsok cooperative farm. Technical training in Beijing of 3 Koreans, including one engineer of the Electronics Research Laboratory, our local counterpart, was completed earlier this year. The system is now running in Pyongwon and will be tested in October in Songsok farm.

As a complementary approach to the watsan programme, Triangle GH received funding from OCHA to implement one winter insulation project in the Pyongwon county hospital, which will be implemented before the end of 2004.

AGRICULTURE

FAO Project Activities

During this period, some 7 Technical cooperation projects (TCP) were being implemented and/or completed, in conjunction with Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Lands and Environmental Protection, and also the Academies of Forest Science and Agricultural Science. Of significance is a Conservation Agriculture pilot operation with an organic approach that has realized high summer crop yields; a Goat Breeding centre, a Marine Aquaculture hatchery and a Soil Testing facility. All of these projects have training components, including on-hands training and study tours in other Asian countries.

An Italian-funded "Special Programme for Food Security" on 3 co-op farms is nearing completion and a tripartite evaluation is scheduled for November.

Emergency projects supported by Sweden, Finland, Norway and Romania have procured fertilizer, green manure seed, tractors, threshers, plastic sheeting and tools. The School Gardens pilot project was initiated in provincial urban centres (Nampo, Pyongsong, Wonsan, Hamhung and Chongjin) where plastic sheeting, garden tools and equipment were distributed. Among these, were schools identified by the Korean Association for the Disabled and Handicap International in Kangwon and South Hamgyong, and in conjunction with WFP in North Hamgyong.

A Seed Potato Storage project is being initiated with co-op farms (North Pyongan, South Pyongan) identified in collaboration with the Swedish NGO, PMU Interlife.

CFSAM 2004. The joint FAO-WFP Crops and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) arrived in late-September with a demanding itinerary that included 8 provinces. In spite of early-summer floods with below-average yields for spring crops (wheat, barley and potato), early findings were that the overall summer cropping situation (maize, rice, soya) was on a par with 2003 and that gradual recovery was still being experienced. The CFSAM Report will probably be released in late-October.

Avian Influenza ("Bird Flu"). Although no cases were reported in DPR Korea in Spring 2004, precautions for possible outbreaks occurring in winter-spring 2004-05 are being taken, with the upgrading of veterinary services and the improvement of facilities for virus identification/diagnosis within the Ministry of Agriculture. A sub-regional project that includes neighbouring states has provided training. Local and regional collaboration with WHO is being maintained.

Ryongchon Agricultural College Support. FAO made an appeal on behalf of the Agricultural High School that had been extensively damaged by the train disaster blast in April 2004. The appeal requested building materials for re-construction, and equipment for the college's training facilities. The Government of Poland subsequently arranged a bilateral donation of 11 computers, printers and items of equipment to support the school's recovery and capacity building.

FAO Director-General Visit. Mr Jacques Diouf visited DPR Korea 4-7 August and met with partner line ministries and the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly. A field trip in Pyongyang and South Pyongan provinces was arranged to view various project activities.

FAO Representative in China. Following the retirement of Mr Gamal Ahmed in April 2004, it is with pleasure that a new Representative is announced to arrive in Beijing, end-October. The new Representative will be Mr Nourredin Mona, a Syrian national, who will have accreditation for both DPR Korea and Mongolia.

Agricultural Sector Coordination. FAO is the focal point, in DPR Korea, for Agricultural Sector activities. The Sector meets monthly in Pyongyang every second Friday. Amongst the regular participants are CESVI, DWHH/German Agro Action, Concern, Triangle, PMU Interlife, WFP, IFRC, FALU, EU-FSU, Swiss (SDC), Campus fur Christus and UNDP. A wider network exists, which includes resident and non-resident Agencies, NGOs, Research Institutes and others having an interest in agriculture, horticulture, fish/marine culture, forestry and environmental issues. Major issues currently under discussion include Soil Fertility Management, Conservation Agriculture, and the reduction/rational use of pesticides and toxic substances in the context of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Additionally, a Green Table working group has produced Theme Papers on Goats, on Mechanisation, and is currently holding meetings with a view to completing a paper on Sloping Land Management. And finally, it is hoped to record the rich experiences gained over several seasons on Cover Crops, Mechanisation and Farm/County Workshop Strengthening, based on the work of DWHH/GAA, SDC and PMU Interlife.

Concern. successfully organised its third international study tour to Shengyang University this month. Participants included staff from the Ministry of Land Management and Environment and managers from county tree nurseries. The study tour this year, building on previous learning practices, reviewed how effective previous capacity building had been. Concern also assisted GAA in an evaluation of their agricultural mechanisation project along with an external evaluator. This collaboration is hoped to be the first in a series, where technical skills can be exchanged in the field.

Triangle. 2004 Forestry programme (SIDA funds). Triangle GH is working this year, with six county tree nurseries in order to improve their production and reinforce the reforestation programme in DPRK. In 3 tree nurseries supported previously in 2003 (Mundok, Sunchon and Unryul), Triangle are installing experimental areas to give an opportunity to nursery staff to apply and build upon, skills learned during last year's study tour. In the three new tree nurseries (Kaechon, Chaeryong and Haeju), irrigation materials and other equipment and machinery have been purchased and delivered. Installation of these items is ongoing. In total, 272 hectares have been rehabilitated and the survival rate of tree samplings continues to improve.

Triangle. Tree nursery managers and representatives of MoLEP participated in a study tour between 25 August and 4 September in Shenyang Forestry University in China. Afterwards, a two day workshop was organized in Pyongyang with the participants of the study tour: the director of the Central Tree Nursery of Pyongyang, professors from Pihyon Forestry University (one of three main Forestry Universities in DPRK, located in North Pyongan Province), representatives of MoLEP and the FDRC. The main topics for discussion were sloping land management, efficient micro-organisms (natural fertilizer) and tissue culture.

Triangle. Tideland rehabilitation project in Pyongwon county, South Pyongan Province. This 30 month project financed by the EC Food Security Unit should be completed in December 2005. After the delivery of equipment, materials and machinery, training and survey phases, the work started at the beginning of this year. For the main dam construction, excavation is almost finished and concrete work will soon start. The floodgates are produced in a local steel factory based in Pyongyang and are ready for installation. The most exposed part of the dyke is already reinforced and rehabilitation of a further 10 kilometres is still on-going. Technical cooperation with the Polder Enterprise, our local technical counterpart, is a crucial point in the implementation of this project. Apart from protecting 4,500 hectares of arable land of the Euryong polder, the capacity building of Korean counterparts will be the main output of this project, along with the use of modern machinery, maintenance training and cooperation between Korean and European Engineers.

ADRA DPR Korea has completed the Unjong Cooperative Household Biogas Project funded from Australia through AusAID. The project developed individual biogas digesters for seven households in order to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of sustainable energies in reversing environmental degradation, increasing farm productivity, and providing a renewable year round energy source for households. The biogas facilities include a greenhouse for vegetable production and heating of the digester, pig stables, household latrines, and gas equipment including piping, valves, stove, and lamps. A training component is included to enable management to efficiently use the facility all year round.

A shortage of energy in rural areas is a fundamental obstacle to rural well-being and sustainable development within the DPRK. Biogas is a form of energy that is well recognised in the DPRK. However, it has previously not performed as a viable energy solution due to low temperatures and inefficient designs. The designs developed by ADRA now achieve high efficiency rates, even as outside temperatures drop below -20°C.

This project has demonstrated that digesters alone can reduce household consumption of wood by two thirds, and provide farms with labour for at least 2.6 additional days per household per month. If a cooperative farm has 750 households, this amounts to an additional 1,950 person days per month. As wood consumption for the average household is 30kg/day, if all households on a cooperative farm have access to biogas, this amounts to a total reduction of 15 tonnes of wood per day. Currently, households have an increased travel distance of 1km per year to access wood for heating and cooking, but with such a reduction in wood consumption, environmental damage may begin to be reversed. Furthermore, efficient stoves that ADRA DPR Korea can include in future projects, can harness an additional 15% of energy from wood fuel, further reducing wood consumption, possibly to within sustainable levels. Combining these benefits with greatly improved sanitation with sanitary latrines, fast processing of raw waste to safe alkaline fertilizer, winter gardening facilities, warm household pig stables, and an endless energy source for cooking, lighting, and heating, the impact on rural livelihoods and well-being could be profound.

Due to the overwhelming success of this project, and the interest these activities have generated (from the Prime Minister's office down to the rural household) ADRA DPR Korea is planning new projects to significantly upscale these activities to gain the broad coverage required to achieve the desired impact on the environment and rural production. However, minimum funding requirements have not yet been reached. ADRA will combine experience gained through this project, the OCHA funded cooperative level biogas facility, other rural energy projects such as solar heating, and current research into geothermal energy sources, to develop a portfolio of solutions that can be applied according to specific needs with the goal to enable potential usage by up to 85% of the rural population.

EDUCATION

UNICEF Ryongchon Emergency Update. Supplies for educational institutions are ongoing. All items have been finalised, and most items have already been ordered. These include off-the-shelf standard items as well as made-to-order items such as some non-standard furniture, especially for very young children in nurseries. Rehabilitation work is also in progress. All estimates and drawings have been completed in the last two months and work-orders issued. Most of the work is expected to be completed this year. However, some work, especially for roof repairs, could spill over into 2005.

Status of procurement:

- All Secondary School supplies in progress (Italian Funds); last items expected in March 2005

- Secondary School No 1 - under rehabilitation (Italy)

- Primary School - school supplies in progress (ECHO)

- Kindergarten No 2- fixtures in progress (Italy)

- 2 Kindergartens - school supplies in progress (ECHO)

- 3 New Primary Schools selection progress completed for "winterisation" - double glazed windows - (South Africa)

- Nursery - supply in progress (ECHO)

UNICEF Normal Country Programme Update:

5 primary schools under rehabilitation (Kosan in Kanwan Province; Kowon and Jongpyong in South Hamyong Province; and Herewong in North Hamyong Province; Heysang in Ryanggang Province ) - work started, includes double glazed windows, roof repairs, water and sanitation facilities, painting exterior; completion due in 2004 (Sweden and New Zealand)

Approximately 400 MT of paper for text books - ordered, delivery expected by year end

Other learning materials - (pencils, rulers, erasers) also ordered for 650,000 children in grades 1 to 4; also expected by December

Learning Assessment Centre established within the Academy for Education Science (MOE) - with assistance in the form of 8 computers and other IT equipment and accessories

2 MOE personnel trained in Learning Assessment techniques in Bangkok

Detailed plan prepared for pre-testing learning achievement assessment in 4 schools in November and piloting in 20 schools early 2005

DWHH/GAA. The project PRK1026 "Rehabilitation of social institutions in Ryongchon following the train accident" aims to rebuild two schools and one kindergarten in the centre of town. The project is co-financed by ECHO and DWHH/GAA and the implementation is done by DWHH/GAA. The project will take 7 months, currently from the 1st of June to the 31st of December 2004. Within this period, 10 buildings need to be rehabilitated. Additionally, the water supply system in Ryongchon will also be rehabilitated. This wat-san component is being done in cooperation with IFRC and UNICEF.

Regarding the activities in detail, new roofs, new doors and windows will be installed for the schools and kindergarten. Indoors, new ceilings, new electrical systems and fresh painting will also be provided. Completely new kitchens and sanitary facilities will be constructed. Concerning the urban water supply, the project provides materials and technical advice for rehabilitating the supply system in four sectors of the town. When the pipes are laid, the schools and the kindergarten will be connected to the public water supply. Additionally, a biogas facility and a solar collector system are being constructed in order to improve the sanitary situation. These latter activities are being co-financed by CONCERN.

Project status. Construction work in the main buildings is almost completed. Since the beginning of September, pupils have been able to attend school again. Some other buildings, such as the sports hall, are still under construction. This work will be finished in November, before the start of the cold winter season. By then, the water supply and the sanitary facilities will be completed. Upon completion, 2400 school children and 350 children in the kindergarten will enjoy better conditions for life and learning after the terrible train accident. Furthermore, about 2000 households will benefit from a new water supply system with clear and safe drinking water.

IFRC OPERATIONAL UPDATE

Health Promotion activities carried out by the DPRK Red Cross and the Federation Delegation during the period of August-September, 2004, included 280 volunteers from 40 communities in South and North Pyongan Provinces and Chagang province who participated in 14 workshops on water borne diseases. Community-Based First Aid (CBFA) trained 220 volunteers and first-aid workers in 11 workshops in South and North Pyongan Provinces.

Water and Sanitation. 30 water supply systems were completed and an extension of these systems has been planned for the next months to cover more than 67,200 beneficiaries. Materials have been requested and are expected to arrive by late October. Also transformers have been procured and were installed in all these systems. 10 more water supply systems are under construction, since the materials have been procured and should be in place at latest October. Construction is expected during November and December.

Sanitation. 610 latrines are finalized and working in normal conditions. The tendering and procurement process for the remaining 300 latrines and biogas digesters is finalized and materials will be delivered latest October.

Disaster Management. One of the strategic goals of the DPRK Red Cross (DPRK RC) in 2004 is to strengthen the capacity of the branches. DPRK RC organized a Disaster Management workshop in Sariwon city, North Hwanghae province from 3-5 August. 25 participants attended the workshop from nine counties and cities in provinces which are vulnerable to floods.

Ryongchon Operations. The Red Cross disaster preparedness warehouses in Sinuiju and Pyongyang have been replenished with the DP items (blankets, water Jeri can, Tarpaulins, kitchen sets and basic kits) from a donation by the Danish Red Cross with support from ECHO. These replenishments will be used effectively for future emergencies in the region. The Red Cross supported 1,850 families (9,255 individuals) and 2,420 families who lost their homes or were partially damaged. The household relief items were distributed over the period 15 -17 September in five distribution centres and included clothing, bedding and fuel. Funds from the US government was used to support Red Cross assistance to the 2,420 families in Ryongchon who were affected by April's blast, but did not receive any assistance during the emergency phase. A total of 4,840 quilts (two pieces per family) were distributed to families whose homes sustained partial damage during the explosion.

Phase III (12 months) of the Ryongchon project involves the reconstruction of the polyclinic for use by the community as a diagnostic centre and for physical therapy, and the restoration of the water supply. Construction of the polyclinic commenced on 10 August. The basement floor has been finalised and first floor construction is ongoing. The Polyclinic will be a three story building measuring 1,365 square meters with brick walls and prefab concrete floors in a 300 cm module system.

All the material for the water supply system which will be installed in Ryongchon city has been delivered, and distribution of the materials to the different installation sites has started. Members from the community have started to dig trenches according to the approved design. Volunteers from the local DPRK Red Cross branch and city authorities are also engaged in the process. A 30 meter high water storage tank, with a total capacity of 800 cubic meters is under construction, while materials for the waste water collection system are in place and construction is ongoing.

Italian Development Cooperation Office (IDCO). Eight Officers from the Ministry of Finance, Foreign Trade Bank, Central Bank and Ministry of Foreign Affairs left on September 7th for Italy for a one month training course in finance.

The Italian Government has made a contribution of 750,000 Euro to DPRK for emergency programmes in health and agriculture in Kangwon Province. In addition, the Italian Government also donated US$ 3,610,109 to WFP and this funding was used to purchase 1,000 MT of DMS and 1,745 MT of sugar which is expected to arrive in November 2004.

A delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of DPRK, composed of six Members, participated in a Workshop on Comprehensive Dialogue between the EU and the DPRK held in Como, Italy on 24th September 2004. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized the round table.

From 28th September to 2nd October 2004, a delegation from the Italian Parliament visited DPRK. This group was composed of six Deputies from different Parties. During this period, they visited several institutions and had meetings with different authorities within DPRK.

Organisations, with programmes in DPRK, are invited to contribute to the Bulletin. NGOs from RO Korea are particularly encouraged to contribute information on their activities in the DPRK. Submissions can be emailed to ocha.dprk@wfp.org

The OCHA Office in DPRK produces this Bulletin on the basis of information supplied by contributing organizations and public sources. Swedish SIDA is funding the OCHA Office in 2004 - www.humanitarianinfo.org/dprk

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Richard Ragan
Humanitarian Coordinator a.i.Pyongyang
Tel: +8502-3817-221
Fax: +8502-3817-639
E-Mail: richard.ragan@wfp.org

George Murray
Head of Office OCHA Pyongyang
Tel: +8502-3817-490
Fax: +8502-3817-491
E-Mail: ocha.dprk@wfp.org

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