By UNICEF EAPRO
In the north of DPR Korea severe flooding triggered by Typhoon Lionrock has displaced over 100,000 people and destroyed homes, schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure. The impact has been devastating and UNICEF is urgently working to help those most in need.
“The scale of this disaster is beyond anything experienced by local officials,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative Murat Sahin, on the ground in a district outside Hoeryong City. “This is the worst flood seen by people in North Hamyong province in the past 60 years or more. I spoke with many affected people. As with disasters elsewhere in the world, for families the top priorities are food and shelter
UNICEF is working with the government and partners, dispatching emergency supplies by truck from Pyongyang to help children and their families. These supplies include emergency health kits, oral rehydration salts, therapeutic food and micronutrient powder sachets, as well as water purification tablets and filters.
In a local district outside Hoeryong City, UNICEF staff saw the devastation laid bare. Homes have been flattened, crops destroyed and people were left eating the little food they had left, sat on top of the debris of their homes.
“Families here lost everything during the floods,” said Sahin. “We met the household doctor for the community. She told us that 11 out of 15 pregnant women in the community had miscarriages since the floods.”
A team from UNICEF were part of the joint UN, NGO and Government rapid assessment team. Additional supplies are also now being driven to some of the most affected areas. With winter approaching, it is critical the most vulnerable receive support as soon as possible.
“I met a grandmother and held her two-year-old baby grandson in my arms. We talked about how we will work together to get through this difficult period before winter hits Hoeryong City,” said Sahin. “At the end of October, the temperature goes below zero in this part of the country. A lot of humanitarian work needs to be done to reach children, mothers and the elderly before the cold hits.”