DPRK: Train Explosion in Ryongchon County Appeal No. 12/2004 Operations Update No. 10


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In Brief

Appeal No. 12/2004; Operations Update no. 10; Period covered: 26 April 2004 to 30 April 2005; Appeal coverage: 118.7%;

Appeal history:

- Preliminary appeal launched on 26 April 2004 for CHF 1,652,000 (USD 1.25 million or EUR 1.06 million) for 1,850 families for 12 months.

- Appeal consolidated on 19 May 2004 to CHF 1,684,000 (USD 1.25 million or EUR 1.06 million) for 1,850 families for 12 months.

- Beneficia ry numbers were revised in Operations Update no. 7 to include 2,430 families whose homes were partially destroyed.

- Disaster Relief Emergency Funds (DREF) allocated: CHF 50,000.

Outstanding needs: None

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals:
- Annual Appeal 2005 (05AA059)
- East Asia Regional Appeal 2005 (05AA061)

Operational Summary:

A year after the disaster in Ryongchon, the emergency operation has wrapped up. All relief activities were completed by September 2004, prompting positive beneficiary responses. Notably, advanced preparations of the DPRK Red Cross ensure d the efficient and timely manner of the operations.

Following the lessons learned exercise, the national society and the Federation delegation proposed a reallocation of funds from the positive balance left after the end of operations to disaster management and capacity building programmes.


After the massive train explosion on 22 April 2004 that occurred at the Ryongchon railway station in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) North Pyongan Province. The powerful blast which devastated the immediate surrounding area left 161 people dead and injured some 1,300, testing the efficiency of the DPRK Red Cross Society's disaster management programme. Over the past 12 months the DPRK Red Cross and the International Federation have worked to support the community's recovery from the devastating blast by implementing a three-pronged response intended to support immediate, mid- and long-term needs of the population.

Ryongchon's population is approximately 27,000 people. Thousands were left homeless when the explosion destroyed 1,850 homes and damaged 6,360 others. The blast also disrupted the county's electricity supply and damaged its water systems. A large number of public buildings were damaged including schools, the county hospital and the polyclinic located close to the train station. The high number of people injured or dead because of the disaster created a great need for immediate support to cope with the crisis as well as medium- and long-term assistance.

The Ryongchon branch of the DPRK Red Cross immediately responded to the explosion by establishing five temporary first aid posts close to the disaster site and mobilizing 398 Red Cross volunteers; a relief operation was mounted by the DPRK Red Cross and the Federation within 24 hours of the disaster.

International donors such as the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID), and sister national societies of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and the United States quickly responded to the needs by supporting the DPRK Red Cross' and the International Federation's appeal, enabling the national society to effectively meet its existing needs.

The progress of the entire operation has been documented through a series of regularly published operations updates that are posted on the Federation's website (www.ifrc.org).

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In DPRK: Min Byong Gwan, Secretary-General, The DPRK Red Cross Society; Tel: +850.2.381.8986; Fax: +850.2.381.3490.

In DPRK: Mr. Jaap Timmer, head of DPRK regional delegation, Pyongyang; email: ifrckp02@ifrc.org; Phone: +850.2.381.4350; Fax: +850.2.381.3490.

In China: Mr. Alistair Henley, head of East Asia regional delegation, Beijing; email: ifrccn01@ifrc.org; Phone: +86.10.65327162; Fax: +86.10.65327166.

In Geneva: Asia and Pacific department, Ms. Ewa Eriksson,East Asia regional officer, email:ewa.erik sson@ifrc.org; Phone: +41.22.730.4252; Fax: +41.22.733.0395.

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org