Archive for the ‘Samaritan’s Purse’ Category

2011 flooding reports, studies

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

UPDATE 9 (2011-9-6): South Korea is slated to deliver flood relief assistance next week.  According to Yonhap:

South Korea’s Red Cross said Tuesday it will send baby food to North Korea across their heavily fortified border next week as its first batch of its emergency aid to North Korea’s flood victims.

The move came a month after Seoul offered to send 5 billion won (US$4.7 million) worth of emergency relief aid, including baby food, biscuits and instant noodles, to North Korea.

South Korea’s Red Cross said in a message to its North Korean counterpart on Tuesday that it will truck 200,000 packs of baby food in the eastern and western sections of the border next Thursday.

The Red Cross said it will send other relief items by the middle of October and it proposed holding consultations with North Korea to ensure Seoul’s aid to North Korea reaches the intended beneficiaries.

Last year, Seoul sent 5,000 tons of rice, 3 million packs of instant noodles and 3,000 tons of cement to North Korea to help it recover from devastating floods.

UPDATE 8 (2011-9-4): The US Government has send flood relief supplies to the DPRK. According to CBS News:

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says the plane is carrying blankets, soap and hygiene kits. It will arrive in Pyongyang this weekend.

The U.S. has said it will provide North Korea $900,000 in emergency aid through U.S. charities.

On September 4th, KCNA posted video of the plane arriving.  See it here (if you are allowed).

Samaritan’s Purse also posted two videos of their departure to and arrival in Pyongyang.

According to the Associated Press:

Samaritan’s Purse said it has pledged $1.2 million in addition to the $900,000 that the U.S. government has allocated for aid to North Korea through U.S.-based charities.

Ken Isaacs, a Samaritan’s Purse vice president, said the group has worked with the U.S. government and several other Christian organizations to send the aid as they try to “continue gaining humanitarian access into North Korea.”

Here is a list of US-DPRK engagement in 2011.

At least one report from Rason seems to indicate that the DPRK’s impending food shortage is not so severe of a problem.

UPDATE 7 (2011-8-23): United Grain Sends First Wheat Shipment to North Korea as Aid. According to the San Francisco Gate:

United Grain Co., Russia’s state grain trader, sent its first shipment of 3,560 metric tons of milling wheat to North Korea as humanitarian aid, the company said in an e-mailed statement today.

The ship arrived at the North Korean port of Hynnam, from Russia’s Vladivostok port on Aug. 20, the company said. It was the first of several shipments.

United Grain will send 50,000 tons of wheat from ports in Vladivostok and Novorossiysk to North Korea, the statement said.

UPDATE 6 (2011-8-22): According to this article in The Telegraph, the North Korean Red Cross has launched a £2.7m emergency appeal to help the victims of a series of floods and storms.  More information can be found here and here.

UPDATE 5 (2011-8-19): The IFRC has posted a map of the counties in which they are involved in flood relief.  See it here. The IFRC has also posted an emergency appeal for assistance.  You can see it here.

UPDATE 4 (2011-8-18): US to provide $900,000 in emergency relief supplies to North Korea after devastating floods. Read more at the AP (Via Washington Post) and Reuters.  Here is a collection of stories related to the DPRK’s alleged food shortage this year.  Here is a list of DPRK-US engagement events this year.

UPDATE 3 (2011-8-10): ROK lists food items it will donate to the DPRK in the wake of flooding. According to the Daily NK:

The South Korean government today transmitted to the North a list of the aid items it will deliver in response to recent flooding.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Unification reported the news this afternoon, saying, “We transmitted a communication containing a concrete list of aid items to the North this afternoon in the name of the president of the Korea National Red Cross.”

The aid includes; 1.4 million units of high protein food, 300,000 units of snacks, 1.92 million Choco Pies and 1.6 million units of instant noodles, but, as previously reported, does not include rice, wheat flour or building materials.

The aid is expected to be conveyed overland along the west and east coasts to areas of Hwanghae and Gangwon Provinces.

“We excluded North Korea’s requested food and cement, but with the exception of medicines the emergency aid was modified mostly as per the North’s request,” the spokesperson explained.

UPDATE 2 (2011-8-10): ROK offers to send relief items to flood-hit DPRK.  According to Yonhap:

South Korea sent North Korea a list of relief items it is willing to deliver to flood victims in the impoverished nation, an official said Wednesday.

The South’s Red Cross delivered the message to the North earlier Wednesday, offering 5 billion won (US$4.6 million) worth of emergency staples including nutritional foods for infants, biscuits and instant noodles, according to the official from the Unification Ministry.

UPDATE 1 (2011-8-9): EU provides resources for flood victims. According to the Korea Herald:

The EU, which shipped food aid to the impoverished state to feed its starving people last month, has donated 200,000 euros ($280,000) to the International Federation of Red Cross in flood aid, Voice of America reported, quoting an EU official.

ORIGINAL POST (2011-8-9): Relief Web has put together a compendium of stories and reports (DPRK, ROK, IFRC, and UN) related to recent flood damage in the DPRK (July and August). Below are links and descriptions:

Briefing kit 1: Situation reports (PDF) on the flooding:

1. DPRK affected by serious floods following torrential rains in July
2. GIEWS Country Brief: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 08-August-2011
3. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Floods DREF operation n° MDRKP003
4. Heavy Rain Damage: Situation Report #2
5. Floods: Situation Report #1

Briefing kit 2: This report (PDF) is an update of the August 7 collection and features media clippings and situation reports:

1. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – Flood Update
2. Russia to Send 50,000 Tons of Food Aid to N.Korea
3. DPRK affected by serious floods following torrential rains in July
4. GIEWS Country Brief: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 08-August-2011
5. Flood Damage Gets Serious
6. Seoul Greenlights Food Aid for N.Korea, But Not Rice, Cement
7. Nationwide Relief Effort Launched for S. Hwanghae Province
8. Downpour Batters DPRK Again
9. Damage from Heavy Rains
10. Red Cross Relief Activities Launched in DPRK
11. S. Korea offers N. Korea flood aid
12. Floods (as of 29 Jul 2011)
13. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: Floods DREF operation n° MDRKP003
14. N. Korea PM inspects flooded region: state media
15. N. Korea storm, rains ‘kill dozens’: state media16. N. Korea state media says China to send flood aid
17. Rain leaves trail of destruction in North Korea
18. Floods wash N. Korean landmines into S. Korea
19. DPRK Hit by Heavy Rain Again
20. S.Koreans on landmine alert after deadly mudslides
21. Floods – July 2011
22. Heavy Rain Damage: Situation Report #2
23. Floods: Situation Report #1
24. Coal Mines Damaged by Heavy Rain
25. Floods Hammer Homes And Fields
26. Heavy Rains Hit DPRK
27. DPRK Hit by Heavy Rainfalls Again
28. Some Areas of DPRK Hit by Heavy Rain


Sinuiju flood photos

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Samaritan’s Purse, the US-based, religious charitable organization, has published some pictures of their recent delivery of flood relief supplies to Sinuiju.

Here is one photo:


You should check out the other photos in the set here.

Here is a video they produced before takeoff.

Samaritan’s Purse is delivering a portion of the US government’s $750,000 flood relief campaign.

Additional information:
1. South Korean aid in response to the flood. China sends aid.

2. Video of Sinuiju. Official Chinese and DPRK photos of the flooding.

3. Here are previous posts about Samaritan’s Purse in the DPRK.


US offers flood aid to DPRK (2010)

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

According to the Choson Ilbo:

The United States is offering $750,000 in emergency aid to North Korea to help aid recovery from devastating floods.

The U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights, Robert King, told VOA Wednesday that the money will be given to three U.S. non-governmental organizations — Samaritan’s Purse, Global Resource Services, and Mercy Corps.

He said the organizations will use the money primarily for medical supplies and will fly the aid into Pyongyang beginning later this week.

Read the full story here:
U.S. Offers Flood Aid to N.Korea
Choson Ilbo


Samaritan’s Purse Press Release: Rev. Graham headed back to Noth Korea

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

BOONE, N.C., Oct. 9, 2009—Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is preparing to make another historic visit to the DPRK (North Korea) to meet with high-level government officials and visit his ministries’ humanitarian assistance projects.

“I believe it is important to make visits like this to help improve better relations and to have better understanding with each other,” said Graham. “I’m going as a minister of Jesus Christ with a message of peace and that God loves each one of us regardless of our borders or politics.”

This is Graham’s third trip to the country rarely visited by Americans, but his family has a long history in the DPRK, going back to 1934 when his mother Ruth Bell Graham attended a mission school in Pyongyang. His father Billy Graham visited in 1992 and 1994, meeting with President Kim Il Sung. Last year Franklin Graham visited the DPRK to oversee several aid operations and to preach at a newly constructed Protestant church in Pyongyang.

Samaritan’s Purse has been working in the DPRK since 1997, primarily with medical and dental programs, providing more than $10 million in assist ance. Next week, Graham will be making a presentation totaling $190,000 in equipment and supplies for a new dental center being built in Pyongyang. He will also visit a provincial hospital in the countryside where a generator system installed by Samaritan’s Purse in conjunction with USAID is now providing electrical power where none previously existed. Graham also hopes his limited time in the DPRK will allow visits to other hospitals and dental facilities where Samaritan’s Purse has offered assistance during the past twelve years.

Samaritan’s Purse has also recently been involved in several major projects in DPRK. In response to devastating floods in 2007, the Christian relief organization chartered a 747 cargo jet to deliver $8.3 million in medicine and other emergency supplies (and more here). That was the first private flight directly from the United States to the DPRK since the Korean War.

Following Graham’s visit to DPRK he will travel to China where in 2008 Samaritan’s Purse sent a Boeing 747 cargo plane filled with urgently-needed supplies to Chengdu in response to a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that killed 40,000 people. One year after the disaster the N.C.-based organization also airlifted 70 tons of Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts which were hand-delivered to hurting children in that region.


DPRK scales back humanitarian work

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Below are excerpts from the Financial Times:

Pyongyang has told Washington that United Nations World Food Programme [WFP] staff will be barred from distributing food aid after March. The Stalinist regime has also told US non-governmental organisations to leave this month, and rescinded permission for other humanitarian groups to visit, the Financial Times has learned.

In an agreement last year, the US agreed to provide North Korea with 500,000 tonnes of food. The WFP was responsible for distributing 400,000 tonnes, with a consortium of NGOs led by MercyCorps in charge of the remainder.

In recent months, however, after North Korea refused to allow sufficient numbers of Korean speakers to join the WFP team, Washington halted food supplies.

Pyongyang has responded by barring food aid workers from operating in the country. So far, the US has supplied 100,000 tonnes to the WFP, and another 70,000 tonnes to the NGOs, which has not been completely distributed.

A US State Department official said that while the US was satisfied with the number of Korean speakers who were allowed to join the NGOs, it was unhappy that the same situation was not true for the WFP, which is responsible for distributing 80 per cent of the food. In addition to MercyCorps, the other NGOs are World Vision, Global Resource Services, Christian Friends of Korea and Samaritan’s Purse.

The official said the US was also responding to North Korea blocking aid workers from conducting a nutritional survey, which was included in the agreement.

“US aid workers have enjoyed tremendous co-operation in the countryside from North Koreans and we hope the DPRK government in Pyongyang will allow them to continue to feed the hungry,” said a Senate aide involved in North Korean issues. “Food aid should be separated from politics.”

Even before the North Korean threat, WFP had been forced to scale back operations because of the break in US funding. The WFP has only received 4.5 per cent of its $504m budget for North Korean operations. A WFP spokesperson said 4.5m of the 6.2m North Koreans targeted under the programme were not receiving assistance as of December.

“WFP hopes that the US will review the humanitarian situation and that food shipments will resume soon,” the spokesperson added.

North Korea recently informed the US that Eugene Bell, World Care and Kirk Humanitarian – three other US NGOs operating in North Korea – would not be allowed to make visits that were already approved. Pyongyang told the US that the planned visits were being cancelled because of “recent developments”.

Nancy Lindborg, president of MercyCorps, said North Korea sometimes temporarily blocked NGOs from visiting. However, she added that she was “hopeful and confident” that the visits would resume. She said her consortium had a “good working relationship” with its North Korean partners.

Read the full article here:
N Korea-US distrust halts food aid
Financial Times
Demetri Sevastopulo

Below: State Department Briefing, Mercy Corps Press Release
US State Dept press briefing
Robert Wood, Acting Department Spokesman
March 17, 2009

QUESTION: Do you have anything to say or to confirm about North Korea cutting off or saying it does not want U.S. food aid —
MR. WOOD: Yeah.
QUESTION: — and kicking out U.S. NGOs over an accelerated timeline?
MR. WOOD: Yeah, yeah. North Korea has informed the United States that it does not wish to receive additional U.S. food assistance at this time. And we will work with U.S. NGOs and their North Korean counterparts to ensure that food that’s already been delivered – excuse me, food that’s already in North Korea is distributed to the intended recipients. And one of the things I also want to mention is that we have aimed to implement the U.S.-DPRK food aid program according to the terms agreed to by the United States and the North Korean Government in May 2008.
And I will give you just a breakdown in terms of the amount of food aid that we have provided. The U.S. has delivered 169,000 metric tons of U.S. food to North Korea in 2008 and 2009. The last shipment of U.S. food aid, which was nearly 5,000 metric tons of vegetable oil and soy blend, arrived in North Korea in late January and is being distributed by U.S. NGOs.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) of that?
MR. WOOD: Of which one, the 5,000 metric tons? Yeah, I am sorry. I don’t have any – any value here. We can try and get that to you in the Press Office.
QUESTION: Could you say when you were notified of this and how you were notified?
MR. WOOD: I don’t know, but it was obviously communicated to us by the North Koreans. I don’t know how that was done, whether it was done through the New York channel or some —
QUESTION: (Inaudible)?
MR. WOOD: Yeah, I just – I don’t know.
QUESTION: Last week maybe?
QUESTION: Just a clarification?
MR. WOOD: Yeah.
QUESTION: You said it’s being distributed by U.S. NGOs or UN NGOs?
QUESTION: Of the (inaudible) metric tons, what is it of? Is it grain? Is it – what is it?
MR. WOOD: Well, I’ll have to get the specifics on it, but I refer to our last shipment of U.S. food, which was, you know —
QUESTION: Oil and soy blend.
MR. WOOD: That’s right. I don’t have that breakdown. We can certainly try and get that for you, Sue.
QUESTION: (Inaudible), are you disappointed in this?
MR. WOOD: Of course. Absolutely. I mean, this was a program intended to try to help get food to needy North Koreans, and we’re obviously disappointed in that. This, you know, does not help us implement this agreement that we reached with the North back in 2008, so —
QUESTION: Well, not only does it not help you implement it, it kind of – I mean, are they abrogating the agreement?
MR. WOOD: Well, I don’t have the actual text of the agreement, so I can’t say with absolute specificity that they’re in violation of it. But we have an agreement to try to deliver, you know, this food assistance, and now the North is saying they do not want to receive any more assistance. So you know, we’re concerned about it.
But the food that is there right now in North Korea, we’re going to work with U.S. NGOs, with their North Korean counterparts, to make sure that this assistance gets to the people who —
QUESTION: Can you be a little bit more explicit about why you’re concerned about it, why you’re disappointed?
MR. WOOD: Well, I mean, clearly this is food assistance that the North Korean people need. That’s why we’re concerned. You know, this humanitarian assistance that we provide to the North has nothing to do with the Six-Party Talks. This is about our true humanitarian concern for these people. And as you know, the food situation in North Korea is not a good one, and so we’re very concerned about it.
QUESTION: Did they give you any explanation why they won’t – they didn’t want any more?
MR. WOOD: They have just said that they do not want to receive any additional food assistance at this time. That’s about as far as they went.
QUESTION: But no reason was provided at all? Just a one-sentence note you got?
MR. WOOD: I mean, it’s – I don’t know if it was one sentence that was given to us, but you know, that was the bottom line. And that’s the most important part of this.
QUESTION: And when did they inform you?
MR. WOOD: It was, I think, over the last couple of days, I believe.
QUESTION: Robert, do you know what the accelerated timeline for the withdrawal of the NGOs will be?
MR. WOOD: I don’t know.
QUESTION: It was supposed to be the end of May.
MR. WOOD: Yeah, I don’t know. Again, probably the best folks to address that are the North Koreans.

Press Release by relief organizations:

March 19, 2008                                                                     


Contacts:  Joy Portella, +1.206.437.7885, [email protected]

March 19, 2009—The following is a statement issued by the NGO Partners that have been distributing food aid in the DPRK through a program supported by the U.S. Agency fro International Development (USAID). The NGO Partnership is led by Mercy Corps, co-led by World Vision, and includes Christian Friends of Korea, Global Resource Services and Samaritan’s Purse:

This week, North Korean authorities have asked us to close the USAID-supported food assistance program that we have been operating since June 2008. Our joint team, dedicated to this program, will leave the DPRK by the end of March.
We are saddened by this decision, but are very proud of what the program has accomplished.  Working closely with our North Korean partner, we have ensured that food reached almost one million vulnerable children, pregnant and nursing mothers and the elderly.
Each of our organizations has worked in the DPRK for more than a decade. We remain committed to assistance in that country, and our individual, on-going programs focused on health, water, sanitation and agriculture will continue as before.
The NGO Food Assistance program is part of a larger 500,000 metric ton initiative supported by USAID in which the World Food Program was to distribute 400,000 metric tons of food and the NGO Partners were to distribute 100,000 metric tons.  In the ten months of this program, 169,000 metric tons of food has been delivered to the DPRK, of which the U.S. NGOs have brought in 71,000 metric tons of food.  This food from NGOs has benefitted more than 900,000 people in the two north west provinces of Chagang and North Pyongan.
This has been a model program with unparalleled monitoring cooperation to ensure that food gets to those most in need. Our in-country staff of 16 people has worked closely with our North Korean partners.
The NGO food assistance program was scheduled to run until the end of May 2009. Until the end of the month, we will work with our North Korean partners to ensure a proper close-out.
We remain committed to helping the people of the DPRK to overcome hunger and improve their lives. The food program resulted from the tremendous humanitarian need in the DPRK. We will continue to work—as individual agencies and in cooperative partnerships—to address these needs. We hope the success of this program will serve as a model for the future.


DPRK humanitarian relief update

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

NKeconWatch blogged earlier about the US-based organizations permitted to enter the DPRK and distribute US humanitarian relief.  A list of those organizations can be found here.

Number three on the list, Samaritan’s Purse, is headed by “US religionist” Franklin Graham, son of Rev. Billy Graham, who just arrived in Pyongyang for a 4-day humanitarian relief tour.  Franklin visited the DPRK once before, in 2000 according to KCNA, and met with Kang Yong Sop, chairman of the central committee of the Korean Christian Federation, Paek Nam Sun, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Kye Gwan, vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Kim Yong Dae, vice-president of the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and delivered a sermon at Pyongyang’s Pongsu Protestant Church. 

Since Franklin’s mother spent 1934 living in Pyongyang, the family seems to have taken a special interest in the DPRK.  In addition to the relief they are distributing now, Samaritan’s Purse chartered a 747 cargo jet from Charlotte to deliver $8.3 million in medicine and other emergency supplies in August of 2007. It was the first private flight directly from the U.S. to North Korea since the Korean War.

Graham’s organization has been posting information on his trip here and here.  Greta Van Sustern has been posting video here: hospital visit (the most informative), monument 1, monument 2, Grand People’s Study House, Mass Games (most inaccurate), Mr. Graham’s work, taking off from Sunan Airport (interesting), Franklin Graham video 1, Video 2, and interview transcript.

Read more here:
Evangelist Franklin Graham to preach in North Korea
McClatchy Newspapers
Tim Funk


Aid Agencies to Deliver U.S. Food Assistance to DPRK

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

UPDATE: Below is a list of organizations that are distributing US aid in the DPRK:

Mercy Corps works amid disasters, conflicts, chronic poverty and instability to unleash the potential of people who can win against nearly impossible odds. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided more than $1.5 billion in assistance to people in 106 nations.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

Samaritan’s Purse provides immediate, no-red-tape response to the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations, especially in locations where few others are working. The organisation is working in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, natural disaster, poverty, famine and persecution.

Global Resource Services is dedicated to going beyond charity to find real solutions to complex global crisis where peace and security are in jeopardy. Our mission is driven by an end vision of reconciliation. Relationships, respect and reconciliation are the common threads that empower our cause.

Christian Friends of Korea (CFK) has been working since 1995 to bring hope and healing to the people of North Korea. To date, CFK’s efforts to build trust and relationships and meet real human needs at tuberculosis and healthcare facilities have resulted in the delivery of over $35 million USD in humanitarian assistance to the DPRK.

From the World Vision web page:

Five aid agencies today announced that they have signed an agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to deliver U.S. government food assistance to North Koreans suffering from severe food shortages. The partnership will distribute 100,000 metric tons of food to more than a half-million needy people over a twelve-month period.

Mercy Corps is leading the programme, with World Vision as co-lead, pending final agreement. Partner agencies are Samaritan’s Purse, Global Resource Services and Christian Friends of Korea. Daily rations will be provided for approximately 550,000 vulnerable people – mostly children, the elderly and pregnant and nursing women – in two North Korean provinces. The programme, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) office of Food for Peace, is the first U.S. food assistance programme for North Korea since 2000.  

From the Mercy Corps web site (July 1, 2008):

Mercy Corps is taking the lead in a yearlong distribution of 100,000 metric tons of food to quell rampant hunger in North Korea.

We have been asked by the U.S. government to spearhead a partnership of five non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that will implement a major food assistance program for North Korean families. Distribution of the food aid – provided by the U.S. government and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Food for Peace program – is taking place over the course of twelve months beginning in June 2008. Alongside our partner organizations, we will distribute food such as cereal grains, vegetable oils and beans through schools, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions.

Our food distribution programs are expected to reach more than 550,000 people – primarily children, the elderly and the extremely poor – in two provinces. We will have staff residing in North Korea to visit families, monitor distribution and assess impact.

Since 1996, Mercy Corps has promoted cross-cultural exchange and worked with the country’s vulnerable families and communities to help meet health and nutritional needs, as well as collaborate on long-term agricultural and economic solutions. Our late co-founder, Ells Culver, reached out to the North Korean people in the aftermath of drought, flooding and food shortages. That cooperation was strengthened last year when we hand-delivered $13 million of medicines for flood survivors, and earlier this year when we received a USAID grant to install emergency generators and medical equipment in six county hospitals.

Your gift to our Global Food Crisis fund will help us deliver assistance to even more families in some of the world’s most challenging places.

To learn more, visit their website (link).

To make a donation, click here.

To read the press release, see below:
Aid Agencies to Deliver U.S. Food Assistance to North Koreans
Reuters Alert Net
Contact: Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz, +1.202.572.6302, [email protected]


Charity flight to North

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Korea Herald

A Boeing 747 carrying 75 tons of emergency relief goods worth $8 million arrived in Pyongyang last week by a direct flight from the United States, while denuclearization talks between the two countries were making progress in Geneva.

Officials here say it was the first time that a full planeload of U.S. emergency relief materials were delivered to North Korea since Pyongyang began accepting private U.S. donations in the mid-1990s after severe floods hit the country. The airlift, provided by Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based Christian charity organization, consisted of medicine, medical supplies, antibiotics, temporary shelter materials and other items needed for the relief of flood victims.

U.S. transport authorities gave their permission for what was known as “the first direct flight from continental U.S. to North Korea since the Korean War.” Airlifted supplies included goods purchased with a $50,000 grant from the U.S. government, according to a press release from Samaritan’s Purse, currently represented by Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham. A dispatch from the (North) Korean Central News Agency said Pyongyang’s Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun met the American visitors who delivered the relief materials.

The American charity group’s swift, large-scale delivery of emergency aid was a noteworthy gesture of friendship, shown in response to the disastrous floods last month. After years of extreme antagonism over the North’s nuclear armament, such a people-to-people exchange of goodwill is inspiring.

The Graham family has special relations with North Korea: Billy Graham’s wife, Ruth Bell, attended Pyongyang Foreign School in the 1930s, Billy Graham visited North Korea twice in the 1990s and other family members traveled to the country in recent years. At a time when diplomatic relations are being explored between the two countries, such personal ties can prove valuable in promoting mutual understanding. Many hope “swords into ploughshares” will not remain a biblical prophecy.


U.S. medical aid arrives in flood-stricken N. Korea: report

Friday, August 31st, 2007


North Korea’s foreign minister Friday met with a U.S. delegation bringing emergency medical supplies to help North Korean victims of recent floods, the North’s official news outlet said.

The reclusive country has appealed to the international community for assistance to cope with massive flooding caused by heavy downpours that left at least 600 people dead or missing and about 100,000 people homeless in early August. The United Nations is seeking US$14 million to provide North Korea with food, medicine, drinking water and other emergency goods.

“Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun met with guests from the United States who visited with emergency medical aid equipment donated by the U.S. administration and the non-governmental organization Samaritan’s Purse with regard to flood damage at the Mansudae Assembly hall,” said the one-sentence report carried by the Korean Central News Agency. It did not identify the U.S. guests.

Washington has so far pledged US$100,000 for the U.N. initiative, equally distributing the funds to two non-governmental relief organizations, Mercy Corps and Samaritan’s Purse, to deliver emergency aid to North Korea.

The heaviest rain in 40 years swept North Korea, which is poorly equipped to cope amid wide-spread deforestation. The severe damage caused the second inter-Korean summit to be postponed from late August to early October.


US provides 100,000 dollar flood aid to North Korea

Friday, August 17th, 2007


The United States is providing 100,000 dollars in humanitarian aid to flood-stricken North Korea, the State Department said Friday.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) would provide 50,000 dollars each to two US non governmental organizations operating in North Korea — Mercy Corps and Samaritan’s Purse, department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

“The intention is that the money would be used to provide blankets, shelter materials, water containers and other supplies to those in need,” he told reporters.

Almost 300 people were dead or missing in the North Korean floods, according to an aid agency quoting official figures in the nuclear-armed hardline communist nation.

Official media in the reclusive state has painted a grim picture of inundated crops and homes, flooded factories and mines and washed-out roads.

UN agencies said on Friday that half of North Korea’s main health centres have been submerged by floods and warned that the situation in the country could deteriorate unless aid arrives rapidly.

The United States, together with China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, have promised to provide the North Koreans aid and security and diplomatic guarantees if it scraps its nuclear weapons program.

But any flood relief provided by the United States would not be linked to a planned gradual shipment of one million tonnes of fuel or its equivalent to North Korea if it completely dismantles its nuclear weapons program, McCormack had said.

North Korea has already got 50,000 tonnes of fuel aid for closure of its key nuclear reactor under the six-party nuclear talks.