Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

Two new interesting publications on the DPRK

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The two publications deal with changing leadership dynamics and health care for the disabled. Links below…

North Korean leadership dynamics and decision-making under Kim Jong-un: A second year assessment
Ken Gause, CNS
Publiched March 2014
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People with Disabilities in a Changing North Korea
Katharina Zellweger, 2011–13 Pantech Fellow, Stanford University
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Russia and DPRK discuss economic opportunities

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

What are the opportunities? Rason port, Iron Silk Road (Rail), Kaesong Industrial Complex, gas pipeline.

According to RIA Novosti:

Russia and North Korea have signed a new protocol to transition to using the ruble for payments between the two countries as part of an effort to boost annual bilateral trade to $1 billion by 2020, Russia’s Far East Development Ministry said Friday.

The announcement came as Russian officials have expressed a desire to explore new markets for the country’s businesses, following the introduction of sanctions by the West in reaction to Moscow’s stance over Crimea. Russian leaders have simultaneously reassured international investors the country remains open for business, and there are no plans to restrict international commerce.

The protocol announced Friday came following a visit of a Russian delegation to the Asian country for a meeting of a standing bilateral commission, timed to mark the 65th anniversary of a cooperation agreement between the Soviet Union and North Korea.

The parties agreed to move towards settling payments in rubles as well as adopting further measures to boost bilateral trade, including easing visa procedures and providing for Russian access to proposed special economic zones in the country, the ministry’s statement said.

The ministry reaffirmed the countries’ mutual interest in joint projects with South Korea, including international connections for railways [Iron Silk Road], gas pipelines and power lines.

The Russian delegation also proposed the entry of Russian businesses into the Kaesong Industrial Park, a special economic zone in North Korea just north of Seoul where South Korean companies are allowed to employ northern workers.

The two sides identified areas for further cooperation, including a transshipment complex at the port of Rason and technical cooperation for the modernization of North Korea’s mining sector, automobile industry and electric power plants.

According to the statement, during the talks Russian Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka emphasized that achieving such goals would only be possible if stability is maintained on the Korean peninsula.

The next meeting of the bilateral commission is scheduled for June in Russia’s far eastern Vladivostok.

Here is what Yonhap reports:

North Korea and Russia have agreed to boost economic ties by pushing for trilateral projects involving South Korea, including a plan to support Russian companies’ entry into an inter-Korean industrial complex, a media report said Saturday.

The agreement between the two was made earlier this week when Russia’s Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka visited the North for a five-day run until Friday to explore ways to boost bilateral economic cooperation, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

“The Russian delegation proposed the entry of Russian businesses into the Kaesong Industrial Park, a special economic zone in North Korea just north of Seoul where South Korean companies are allowed to employ northern workers,” the RIA Novosti reported, citing the ministry.

Officials of Seoul’s unification ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, welcomed the agreement between the North and Russia, while stressing the importance of Russia’s prior consultation with the South.

“Russian companies’ making inroads into the Kaesong park is desirable in terms of the internationalization of the complex … It would also prevent the North from unilaterally reversing its agreement with Seoul over the Kaeesong operation,” the ministry official said, requesting anonymity.

Internationalization of the enclave, a symbol of inter-Korean detente, is one of the key topics for inter-Korean meetings aimed at ensuring its normal operations and further invigorating the complex. The Kaesong park resumed operations in September, more than five months after the North unilaterally closed it in anger over Seoul-Washington joint military exercises.

“But it is crucial for Russia to discuss the matter with our side first as it is basically operated by the South Korean authorities,” he added.

A handful of companies from China, Australia and Germany have so far expressed interests in making an investment in the Kaesong complex, prompting the Seoul government to review holding joint presentation sessions with the North to lure investors from overseas, according to another ministry official.

Here is additional information from Yonhap on recent shipments from Russia to the DPRK:

Russia exported US$21.16 million’s worth of jib cranes, machinery used mostly for cargo handling at ports, to North Korea last year, accounting for nearly 22 percent of its total exports to the North, according to the report by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA). The amount surpasses that of Russia’s traditional export goods such as coal, petroleum and bituminous oil.

There were no records of the machines being exported to North Korea the year before, with the 2011 amount standing at $139,000.

North Korea and Russia maintain economic relations that include a project that would make North Korea’s northeastern port city of Rajin a logistics hub by connecting it to Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway. North Korea is said to have agreed to a long-term lease of the No. 3 dock at Rajin port to Russia and that it is modernizing facilities there. The cranes may be for such modernization efforts, the KOTRA report said.

Also noteworthy is Russia’s exports of ambulances to the North, amounting to approximately 10.1 billion won ($9.45 million), the fourth largest in terms of value. Ambulances are a relatively new product on the trade list.

KCNA’s reporting of the meeting was much more muted:

DPRK Premier Meets Minister of Development of Far East of Russia

Pyongyang, March 26 (KCNA) — Pak Pong Ju, premier of the DPRK Cabinet, met Alexandr Galushka, minister of the Development of Far East of Russia who is chairman of the Russian side to the Inter-governmental Committee for Cooperation in Trade, Economy, Science and Technology between the DPRK and Russia, and his party.

He had a friendly talk with them who paid a courtesy call on him at the Mansudae Assembly Hall on Wednesday.

Minutes of Talks between Governments of DPRK, Russia Signed

Pyongyang, March 26 (KCNA) — Minutes of talks on cooperation in trade, economy, science and technology between the governments of the DPRK and Russia were signed here Wednesday.

Present at the signing ceremony were Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade who is chairman of the DPRK side to the Inter-governmental Committee for Cooperation in Trade, Economy, Science and Technology between the DPRK and Russia, and officials concerned, Alexandr Galushka, minister for the Development of Far East who is chairman of the Russian side to the Inter-governmental Committee, and his party and Alexandr Timonin, Russian ambassador to the DPRK.

Ri Ryong Nam and Alexandr Galushka signed the minutes of the talks.

Read the full story here:
Russia, North Korea Agree to Settle Payments in Rubles in Trade Pact
RIA Novosti
2014-3-28

N. Korea, Russia to discuss supporting Moscow firms’ advance into Kaesong park
Yonhap
2014-3-29

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Handicap International earmarks $1.12 million in DPRK aid

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

The Belgium branch of Handicap International earmarked $1.12 million for this year to support medical and rehabilitation facilities in the communist country to promote the health and well-being of the disabled there, the Voice of America (VOA) reported, citing an e-mail from the agency’s official Dominique Delvigne.

The budget is also to be spent for such projects as nurturing teachers in charge of special education for visually- and hearing-impaired people, and assisting the (North) Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD), the official added.

The NGO, established in 1982 to help disabled and vulnerable people in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster, began to help physically challenged people in North Korea in 1998 at the request of the KFPD.

According to the report on disability published by the World Health Organization in 2013, some 3.4 percent of the population in North Korea suffered from a disability as of 2007.

Read the full story here:
Belgium-based NGO to spend US$1.1 mln in 2014 for disabled N. Koreans
Yonhap
2014-3-19

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Wellspring assistance in drilling water wells

Friday, March 14th, 2014

According to Wellspring’s website:

Wellspring has had the privilege to partner with several Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) in our work in North Korea. Partnering with other groups allows Wellspring to work efficiently and effectively by focusing on our specialty – drilling water wells in North Korea. We have provided wells for our partners in several areas of the country and desire to work with new partners who are currently working in North Korea.

According to Yonhap:

Private agencies in the United States have provided North Korea with aid to help its people have access to clean water and medicine, media reports said Friday.

According to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA), Wellspring, a non-governmental organization in the U.S., sent a large truck to the North earlier this week to support its groundwater development project.

The aid was provided at the request of the North’s underground water development research institute, and the lorry was purchased in China, according to the RFA.

Under the vision of “Bringing living water to the people of North Korea,” James Linton, who leads the organization, has visited the communist country every year since 2007 to provide training, equipment, and expertise in the field and has drilled some 200 wells across the country.

The Connecticut-based private agency AmeriCares also recently sent medicine, medical devices and food for children worth $370,000, according to the Voice of America.

They are expected to arrive in the North next month to be delivered to hospitals and local clinics in Pyongyang and North Hwanghae, it added.

North Korea has regularly suffered from acute food and medical shortages caused mainly by isolation and natural disasters.

Read the full story here:
U.S. NGOs offer humanitarian aid to N. Korea
Yonhap
2014-3-14

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DPRK doctors working in China

Friday, November 1st, 2013

According to the Daily NK:

North Korean doctors are being dispatched to the Yanbian Autonomous Korean Prefecture of China in order to bring in much-needed foreign currency, a source has reported.

Lee Wong Jong, the manager of an oriental medicine clinic in Yanji, the capital of the autonomous region, contacted Daily NK on the 1st.

“Most North Koreans in Yanji work in North Korean-run restaurants and IT companies, but lately it’s not been hard to find North Korean doctors, too. These doctors are working legally at Chinese hospitals,” he said.

He continued, “They are obtaining official visas from the North Korean government and moving to China to work. They are not in the country as the result of an agreement between China and North Korea, however. North Korea is providing individual doctors with visas so that they can go and earn foreign currency.”

“I know a North Korean dentist working at a hospital. At the same time, he works to help people like himself who have been granted Chinese visas. He essentially plays the role of an employment agency and helps them find work in other hospitals. Many IT workers have come to China too, and he connects those people with companies and factories, too.”

Lee now fears for his friend, however; “A few months ago I started to see less and less of him, and now he has disappeared without a trace.” He explained, “If the North Korean authorities receive a report that one of their citizens has met with a South Korean they order them to return home, no exceptions.”

On the North’s move to provide visas to its doctors, Lee revealed, “North Korean doctors are not well-regarded in China. No one wants to get treated by a doctor from a backward country, so the authorities can’t form an official agreement with China to send them. Granting visas to individual doctors instead is an unofficial way to bring in foreign currency.”

Doctors are not the only profession to receive permission to work and live in China, Lee explained. “In Yanji there are many North Koreans. You can see young Chinese-Koreans in their early 20s driving around in foreign cars. They manage IT companies that employ North Korean labor, and make good money that way.”

He added, “The number of North Korean workers employed in Chinese firms has skyrocketed over the last few years. They now show no outward signs of awkwardness adapting to life in China.”

Read the full story here:
NK Doctors Working in China
Daily NK
Oh Se Hyek
2013-11-1

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Pyongsu to open new pharmacy in Phyongsong

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

According to Yonhap:

A joint venture between North Korea and Switzerland will open its first chain drugstore in a provincial city in the communist country by the end of this year, according to the company’s website Sunday.

The new store will be situated in Pyongsong, South Pyongan Province, where many of the North’s well-off people who can afford medicine live, the Pyongsu Pharma J-V Co. said.

Launched in 2004 as a joint venture between Parazelsus, a Swiss investment and management company with a focus on healthcare, and Pyongyang Pharmaceutical Factory under the North’s health ministry, Pyongsu Pharma has since opened nine chain stores in Pyongyang to provide North Koreans with essential medicine, such as aspirin and digestive aids.

Pyongsong, located just north of Pyongyang, is the capital of North Pyongan Province. It was developed into a science-research city, housing many research institutes in the 1960s, but now is a hub of logistics for distributing everyday goods all over the country.

Last month, the North Korean authority opened the city to foreign tourists, according to a Chinese tourism agency specializing in tours to the North.

“Since medicine is as precious as rice in North Korea, Pyongsong will be crowded with people coming to buy medicine from other parts of the country if a drug store opens in the city, which has a relatively well-developed traffic network with other cities,” a source well informed on North Korea said.

Read the full story here:
N.K.-Swiss joint venture to open drugstore in N.K. provincial city
Yonhap
2013-9-8

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2013 flooding compendium

Friday, August 16th, 2013

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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UNFPA provides medical aid to DPRK

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

According to Yonhap:

A United Nations organization supporting child birth has provided US$500,000 worth of medical aid to North Korean mothers and children, a report said Wednesday.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shipped drugs and medical equipment for mothers with newborn babies in the North last month, the report by the Washington-based Radio Free Asia said.

The goods were sent to about 300 health facilities in the country and the UNFPA tapped into the U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund in order to provide the assistance, it said.

With a budget of $10 million, the UNFPA has been leading a five-year project to help pregnant North Korean women and conduct a census in the communist country since 2011.

Maternal death in the North reached 77 in 2008, up 40 percent from 54 recorded in the 1990s, according to the UNFPA. The rate refers to the number of women dying from child birth-related complications per 100,000 live births.

Read the full story here:
UNFPA provides US$500,000 in medical aid to N. Korean mothers
Yonhap
2013-5-22

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Bird flu in the heart of Pyognyang

Monday, May 20th, 2013

tudan-duck-farm

Pictured above (Google Earth): Tudan Duck Farm

UPDATE 1 (2013-6-11): According to Yonhap (via Global Post):

North Korea has reported to the international agency on animal health that the country has seen no new bird flu cases since early last month, agency officials said Tuesday.

Ri Kyong-gun, the North’s agricultural department chief, said, in a report sent to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), “There are no new outbreaks” as of May 22, some 10 days after a duck farm near Pyongyang reported animals showing symptoms of avian influenza, known as the H5N1 virus.

While the source of the outbreak and its origin are not yet known, the communist country “humanely culled all ducks in the infected cages and has vaccinated 500,000 heads nationwide,” the official said in the report.

According to the comments there, weekly follow-up reports will be submitted, “as the event is continuing.” The May 22 report is the latest one available on the OIE website.

The international agency earlier said the highly contagious virus was presumed to be spread by migrating birds from China, where its Tibet Autonomous Region saw 35 chickens die at a farm after showing symptoms of avian flu.

In a move to conduct an on-spot inspection into the recent cases and to help North Korea with quarantine activities, three experts from the OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization made a one-week trip to the communist country from June 3, the Washington-based Voice of America said.

An outbreak of the avian flu led to a mass cull of 210,000 chickens in North Korea back in 2005.

ORIGINAL POST: According to KCNA (2013-5-20):

DPRK Strives to Prevent Spread of Bird Flu Virus

Pyongyang, May 20 (KCNA) — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been making big efforts to prevent the spread of the bird flu virus.

According to an examination made by the Central Epizootic Prevention Center and the Veterinary Institute under the Academy of Agricultural Science on May 7, it was found that ducks in the Tudan Duck Farm in Pyongyang were infected with the H5N1 virus by migratory birds. They briefed UN bodies concerned on this situation while taking steps to kill as many as 160 000 ducks in the farm and quarantine and disinfect it.

More than 1 360 veterinary epidemic control teams are now working throughout the country to keep a close eye on poultry and movement of wild birds. Efforts are made to raise the diagnosis capability of provincial epizootic prevention organs and increase preventive medicines.

Meanwhile, preventive measures are being taken against H7N9 virus under the direction of the State Emergency Anti-epidemic Committee. They include checkup of persons from the bird flu virus-hit areas, test and quarantine of poultry and restriction on movement of living fowls. A strict step was taken to hedge fowl, duck, pigeon and other domestic poultry off from the outer world.

Intensive hygienic information service is going on among inhabitants.

Additional information as the WSJ Korea Real Time.

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UN WFP report claims DPRK citizens undernourished

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

According to Yonhap:

Eight out of every 10 North Korean families are suffering malnutrition with little access to protein foods, a U.S. media report said Tuesday.

In its survey of 87 North Korean families from January to March, the World Food Program (WFP) found that 80 percent of them were undernourished mainly due to a lack of protein intake, the Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) said.

About 38 percent of those surveyed were not able to eat high-protein foods during the one week before the survey, such as meat, fish, eggs or beans, said the report, monitored in Seoul.

Quoting the WFP report, the VOA said the North Korean families, on average, eat meat 1.3 days a week or beans 1.2 days per week.

The report also said about 14 percent of the 86 hospitalized North Korean children under age 5 whom its aid workers visited during the January-March period were in serious malnutrition conditions.

Meanwhile, AmeriCares, a U.S. non-profit aid group, is about to send 10.5 tons of drugs in humanitarian assistance to the North this week, another U.S. media report said.

The aid package, which includes antibiotics, stomach medicines and dermatology drugs, will be shipped later this week to six hospitals in Pyongyang and other areas, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported. The shipment will also include personal hygiene items like toothbrushes and soaps, it said.

The RFA said the latest aid has no political consideration and is solely for humanitarian purposes.

AmeriCares began its aid to the North in 1997 as the first American private group to do so. Last year, it sent US$7 million worth of medicine for flood victims in the impoverished country.

Read the full story here:
Eight out of 10 N. Korean families undernourished: report
Yonhap
2013-5-7

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