DPRK: Train explosion in Ryongchon County Final Report


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In Brief

Appeal No. 12/2004; Final Report; Period covered: 26 April 2004 to 30 April 2005; Final appeal coverage: 101%.

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.

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

Interim Final Report posted 24 December 2005 proposing a reallocation of funds to the long-term disaster management and capacity building programmes.

Final Report posted today, 11 December 2006, following the reallocation and final payment of an outstanding pledge.

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

Related Emergency or Annual Appeals: East Asia Appeal 2006-2007: Regional Programme with a focus on DPRK (MAA54001)

Operational Summary:

The emergency operation in response to the train explosion in Ryongchon has wrapped up. All relief activities were completed by September 2004, prompting positive beneficiary responses. Notably, advanced preparations of the DPRK Red Cross ensured the efficient and timely manner of the operations.

Following the lessons learned exercise, the national society and the Federation delegation reallocated funds from the positive balance left after the end of operations to disaster management and capacity building programmes. The Final Report has been issued on 11 December 2006 following the final payment of an outstanding pledge.

Background and Summary

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:

The DPRK Red Cross Society: Mr. Min Byong Gwan (Secretary-General) phone: +850.2.3818986; fax: +850.2.3813490.

Federation country delegation in DPRK: Mr. Jacob Timmer (head of DPRK delegation); email: ifrckp02@ifrc.org; phone: +850.2.3814350; fax: +850.2.3813490.

Federation regional delegation in China: Mr. Alistair Henley (head of East Asia regional delegation); alistair.henley@ifrc.org; phone: +86.10.65327162, fax: +86.10.65327166.

Federation Secretariat in Geneva: Ms. Ewa Eriksson (regional officer, Asia Pacific department); email: ewa.eriksson@ifrc.org; phone: +41227304252; fax: +41.22.7330395

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) in Disaster Relief and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (Sphere) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For longer-term programmes in this or other countries or regions, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for national society profiles, please also access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org.