2013 flooding compendium

UPDATE 9 (2013-8-16): ROK Red Cross to provide $100,000 flood relief to DPRK. According to Yonhap:

The Korean Red Cross plans to provide North Korea with an emergency fund of US$100,000 to help flood victims in the communist country, an official from the organization said Friday.

“The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has asked for our participation in supporting the flood-hit North Korea,” the official said.

“In accordance, we’ve decided in humanitarian terms to send $100,000 to the IFRC to provide the victims there with relief goods.” he added.

The money, which comes from the Korean Red Cross’ own funds reserved for inter-Korean exchanges, is expected to be transferred to an IFRC bank account next week, according to the official.

The IFRC data showed that torrential rains since early July have caused extensive flooding and landslides across the impoverished communist country, killing 33 people and injuring 2 others with 18 still missing. An estimated 4,000 families have lost their homes and 50,000 have been displaced.

The international agency said earlier this month that it has allocated 299,744 Swiss franc to help the North Korean victims, with their relief operation to continue until the end of October.

Last year, the Korean Red Cross provided Pyongyang with $100,000 to help those who suffered from heavy precipitations.

UPDATE 8 (2013-8-6): The UN and South Koreans are contributing to flood relief. According to Yonhap:

The World Food Program (WFP) spokeswoman Nanna Skau said corn is being provided to households that have been hit hard by recent flooding caused by torrential rain, Radio Free Asia reported. She added that assistance is being offered because flooding has caused extensive damage to farmlands and irrigation systems.

The radio broadcast monitored in Seoul said distribution of the grain will continue for the next 30 days, with each recipient being allocated 400 grams per day.

The WFP also said support will be provided to 38,067 people in 10 cities and counties in Pyongan, Hwanghae and Hamgyong provinces.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said torrential rains that caused flooding and landslides left 33 North Koreans dead and displaced roughly 50,000 people from their homes. In places such as Anju in South Pyongan Province, some 80 percent of the city was flooded, resulting in extensive damage to homes and buildings.

Related to the international food effort underway, Korean Sharing Movement, a South Korean non-governmental organization, said it wanted to send emergency food aid to the North and requested permission from Seoul’s Ministry of Unification, which oversees inter-Korean affairs.

The civic groups pointed out that emergency aid shipments have always been permitted in the past regardless of the state of inter-Korean relations.

Cross-border ties have been strained following the North’s detonation of its third nuclear device in February and subsequent tightening of international sanctions. The shutting down of the joint factory park in Kaesong further strained relations.

Seoul has officially maintained that it will allow shipments of humanitarian aid to the North, but made clear it needs to first verify the extent of the flood damage. Officials have cited urgency and ability to make certain that relief will reach those in greatest need as conditions that must be met for aid to be provided. Last week, South Korea approved aid shipments by five local civic organizations.

Reflecting the country’s humanitarian aid policy, the South and North Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council, which is chaired by the unification minister, approved sending more than US$6.03 million for relief programs organized by the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The money will be used to provide medicine and vaccines as well as improve the level of nutrition provided to small children, pregnant women and the socially disadvantaged. An additional 15.92 million won (US$14,288) will be sent to UNICEF to help manage the aid programs in North Korea.

UPDATE 7 (2013-8-2): From the United Nations:

Exceptionally heavy seasonal rain in mid-July resulted in flooding in many parts of DPRK Korea. Particularly severely affected are the provinces of North and South Pyongan. Many places had over twice the average rainfall for July in three days. There are a reported 33 deaths with 18 people still missing.

The Government has reported that there has been extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure with a current total of 48,688 people made homeless across the country, mostly in the two provinces of North and South Pyonang. Farmland was inundated with 11,567 hectares affected with around 1,125 hectares of farmland washed away or otherwise destroyed.

UN agencies carried out assessment missions on 24 July to two counties in North Pyongang – Pakchon and Taechon and in those two areas confirmed the scale of the flood damage. Further assessment missions will take place this week.

Damage to water systems is widespread and there is already an increased incidence of diarrhoea in some areas. Anju city, which was 80% flooded will only have its pumping stations fully operational again in about two weeks. 30 other communities have had their drinking water systems damaged.

Damage to agricultural land is extensive though estimates of crop damage vary and further assessment missions in the next week should give a more accurate number once the flood waters have fully receded. Apart from the farmland that was physically swept away or buried, damage to the standing crops may not be as extensive as first reports suggested as many fields were flooded by heavy rain rather than by flash flooding and, unless there is further heavy rain, seem likely to largely recover.

Transport infrastructure has suffered with at least 20 bridges and 11km of embankments and 143 areas where roads have been eroded, washed away or blocked by landslides. Government surveys show that 27 schools were completely destroyed in four provinces, with a further 10 being badly damaged. Many others have suffered more minor damage, though currently it is the summer break, so at present schooling is not being disrupted. Medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics and nursing homes also were affected with 3 being destroyed and 14 badly damaged.

UPDATE 6 (2013-8-4): The North Koreans have cut short military exercises to focus on flood relief. According to the AFP:

The communist state has staged summer military drills that partially coincided with the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise conducted by its rival South Korea and the United States, that usually takes place in August.

“But this year’s summer drill in the North will be scaled back considerably because it needs to focus on repairing floods damages,” the source was quoted as saying.

Floods caused by heavy rains that pummelled the North since early July have destroyed some 6,000 houses, displaced more than 23,000 people and washed away a large swathes of farmlands, the North’s state media said late last month.

The death toll has reached 33 across the nation and some 13,300 hectares of farmlands have been damaged, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said last week, warning of “longer-term impact” on the country’s food security.

Decades of deforestation and decrepit infrastructure have left the impoverished North vulnerable to floods, which led to some 170 deaths last summer.

UPDATE 5 (2013-8-2): The international Red Cross has said it will provide North Korea with an emergency fund of US$320,000 to help flood victims. According to Yonhap:

The international Red Cross has said it will provide North Korea with an emergency fund of US$320,000 to help flood victims in the communist country.

In a report posted on its website Thursday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said it has allocated 299,744 Swiss franc from its disaster relief emergency fund “to help the DPRK Red Cross Society in delivering immediate assistance to 5,000 families or 20,000 beneficiaries.”

DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

Torrential rains since early July have caused extensive flooding and landslides across the impoverished communist country, killing 33 people and injuring 2 others with 18 still missing, according to the IFRC data. An estimated 4,000 families have lost their homes and 50,000 have been displaced.

In response, the agency plans to spend $120,000 to set up a shelter for 5,000 families in the most affected areas of North and South Pyongan and North Hwanghae Provinces, another $100,000 for utensils, and $40,700 for water, sanitation and hygiene works.

“The operation targets to support affected families with essential items … It also supports the operational cost of the two water treatment units and hygiene promotion activities,” the IFRC said in the report.

The relief operation will continue over the next three months until the end of October, it added.

In the wake of the tragedy in the North, the IFRC dispatched an eight-member group of experts to the affected areas and has conducted damage assessment and led relief work.

The fund is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for its emergency response, according to the agency’s website.

UPDATE 4 (2013-7-31): ROK NGOs start shipping humanitarian aid to DPRK. According to Yonhap:

South Korean non-governmental organizations (NGOs) started shipping out humanitarian aid to North Korea on Wednesday to help alleviate the plight of children and sick people in the impoverished country.

The move comes after Seoul’s unification ministry approved the shipment of goods earlier in the week as a sign that South Korea is open to offering urgent humanitarian assistance to the North in spite of sanctions on the North for its nuclear device detonation in February.

The Korea Association of People Sharing Love, one of five NGOs to gain permission to ship goods, said it has ordered the shipment of bread in China for delivery to child-care centers and orphanages in Sinuiju, a North Korean border city with China.

It said other shipments of food will be made in the coming weeks. The organization was allowed to send US$46,000 worth of bread, baby formulas and nutritional supplements.

Medical Aid for Children, another charity group, said it has held a ceremony in Incheon, west of Seoul, to mark the start of its deliveries of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

The group said medical supplies worth 223 million won ($199,700) will be made to a children’s hospital in the North.

Other groups like Green Tree Korea, Okedongmu Children and Stop Hunger said the first of their aid shipments will reach the North next month.

These organization plan to send more than 1.2 billion won worth of warm clothing, blankets, flour, powdered milk to the North in the coming weeks.

The shipments mark the first time in four months that Seoul has approved humanitarian aid to the communist country. The last shipment included tuberculosis medicine sent by the Eugene Bell foundation.

Seoul has imposed a blanket ban on shipments of goods after accusing the North of sinking one of its naval vessels near the South-North sea demarcation line in March 2010.

UPDATE 3 (2013-7-28): South Korea offers flood assistance. According to the New York Times:

South Korea announced $7.3 million worth of humanitarian aid for North Korea on Sunday, a conciliatory gesture that coincided with a call by the South for “one last round” of talks on restarting a jointly operated industrial complex.

The majority of the aid — $6 million — will be provided by the South Korean government and shipped through Unicef, the United Nations children’s agency, which provides vaccines, medicine and nutritional supplements for malnourished children and pregnant women in the impoverished North. Five private humanitarian aid groups from South Korea will provide the remainder; they will also send medicine and food for young children.

The South Korean minister in charge of policy toward the North, Ryoo Kihl-jae, said the aid shipments were not linked to political issues. But the announcement was contained in a statement in which Mr. Ryoo also called for a final round of talks with the North to settle disputes over the Kaesong industrial complex, which has been closed since early April.

There was no immediate response from the North Korean government.

UPDATE 2 (2013-7-25): Christian Friends of Korea (CFK) to provide flood relief. According to Yonhap:

Christian Friends of Korea (CFK), which is already engaged in providing humanitarian assistance to people living in the Hwanghae region, will offer clean drinking water, food and medicine to flood victims, Radio Free Asia reported.

The United Nations said that as of Monday, 24 people have been killed because of flooding while many others have been injured. It said a fact-finding mission has been sent to the isolationist country to assess the full extent of the damage so assistance can be provided.

UPDATE 1 (2013-7-23): According to KCNA (2013-7-23):

Flood Damage Grows in DPRK

Pyongyang, July 23 (KCNA) — Flood damage by consecutive downpour and heavy rainfalls is growing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

According to a survey made between 18:00 July 20 and 18:00 July 22, the flooding left eight people dead throughout the country.

More than 4,500 houses were destroyed or submerged, leaving 17,700 people homeless.

At least 1,000 houses were damaged totally or partially in North Phyongan Province, with 2,300 houses submerged in Unsan County alone.

6,550 hectares of cropland were damaged in North and South Phyongan provinces.

Meanwhile, the torrential rain has brought damage to some 30 school and 15 hospital buildings throughout the country as of July 23, after the start of the rainy season.

ORIGINAL POST (2013-7-23): According to the Daily NK:

The city of Anju in South Pyongan Province, which suffered substantive flood damage in the summer of 2012, has again been hit hard by the rainy season. Francis Markus of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) released the news via Twitter on the 22nd, asserting that 80% of the city is now under water.

Markus tweeted, “10,000+ ppl displaced, need shelter & clean water in Anju city, w. #DPRK as river bursts banks #RedCross deploys water units,” later adding, “80% of Anju City, #DPRK reported under 2 m of water. #RedCross sending tarps, jerry cans, water purif tabs, hygiene kits etc 4 survivors.”

The city, which lies northwest of Pyongsung, has a population of more than 200,000.

Meanwhile, according to a North Korean meteorological statistics released by Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) yesterday, close to double the average amount of July rainfall has fallen during the 20 days since the start of the rainy season.

“On July 20, the highest precipitation was recorded in Tongsin, Songwon, Ryongrim and Thaechon counties,” the article noted, going on, “From 21:00 July 19th to 15:00 July 21st, 413mm rainfall was recorded in Tongsin County, 383mm in Songwon County, 380mm in Thaechon County, 322mm in Huichon City, 312mm in Hyangsan County, 304mm in Tongchang County and over 200mm in Kusong City, Sonchon and Nyongbyon counties and Tokchon City.”

On the 19th, IFRC announced that it has dispatched an on-site inspection team to assess conditions on the ground in North Korea. An international relief effort in August 2012 saw the Red Cross deliver water and other essential goods to the people of the flood-damaged city.

Read the full story here:
Pyongan Suffering in Heavy Rains
Daily NK
Kim Tae Hong
2013-7-23

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