IFRC releases emergency funds to fight influenza in DPRK

Beijing / Kuala Lumpur / Geneva, 12 February 2018 - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 303,779 Swiss francs from its Disaster Response Emergency Fund to support the Red Cross of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) fight an outbreak of influenza A (H1N1).

“Initial government figures point to a rapidly developing outbreak, affecting more than 178,000 people and causing four deaths between 1 December and 23 January,” says Gwendolyn Pang, acting head of IFRC’s country office in the DPRK.

“These funds will help the Red Cross to protect the health of 373,000 of the most vulnerable people such as health workers, older people, people with pre-existing illnesses and children.” The Red Cross will improve basic hygiene by providing frontline health workers in 500 health facilities with disposable gloves and masks, surveillance in high risk communities, training volunteers and going door-to-door to spread health messages about the risks of influenza and how to prevent it. Older people visiting clinics will also be reached.

Children in nurseries, kindergartens and schools are more vulnerable to influenza because they are in close contact with each other and may not use recommended coughing etiquette or have access to handwashing facilities. The Red Cross will provide 300 schools with soap and advice on handwashing.

For more information, contact:

In Beijing: Maude Froberg, +86 139 1009 6892, maude.froberg@ifrc.org
In Kuala Lumpur: Rosemarie North, +60 122 308 451, rosemarie.north@ifrc.org
In Geneva: Laura Ngô-Fontaine, +41 79 959 3662, laura.ngofontaine@ifrc.org

About IFRC:

IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives and promote dignity around the world.