DPR Korea floods

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Updated: 10 February 2017

The Situation

A devastating flood triggered by Typhoon Lionrock in the northeast of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) in late August caused widespread damage and casualties across 15 counties and cities. Over 70,000 people lost their homes while more than 500 people have died or are missing. People are most in need of food and building materials for shelters. The DPR Korea government has officially launched a public appeal for international aid. 

Since temperatures in the mountainous areas of the northern part of DPR Korea can reach as low as -30 degrees Celsius during winter, families urgently need to rebuild their houses as well as food to avoid malnutrition.

Oxfam Hong Kong’s Emergency Response

We completed an assessment with our local partners in DPR Korea in early October 2016. The affected area in Musan County is considerably large and the damage is serious. Over 10,000 houses were destroyed or submerged. The flood also destructed 5,862.5 acres of arable land and crops; this could leave over 70,000 people food insecure. We are therefore concentrating our relief efforts in the most critical areas in Musan County. 

We have been supporting affected communities since October 2016. So far, we have:

- distributed emergency food relief to 6,000 people, including wheat flour and cooking oil enough for two months
- provided metal roofing for 920 households so that they can build shelter and protect themselves against harsh weather
- distributed two cotton duvets to each of the 2,254 households in Onsong County 

To ensure that donations are used for the people affected by the floods, Oxfam staff have been involved in all relief operations, from sourcing and purchasing to quality checking and distributing relief supplies. Our staff conducted the assessment as well as the quality and quantity check at Musan County in early October and November. In March 2017, we will revisit the affected families and conduct random checks to assess the effectiveness of our relief work. 

Oxfam’s Rehabilitation Response

According to the assessment visits conducted by our staff, there is a need to restore critical infrastructure so that those affected by the floods can return to normal life. Oxfam will restore the irrigation system in a farm in Musan County within this month to ensure farmers can catch the next growing season, and avert further food and economic losses. 

Most of the basic necessities and personal belongings of families have been washed away or destroyed by the floods; families are now in need of items like durable and customary tableware. To fill in the gap between what has been provided and what affected families still need, we will provide the kitchenware and tableware to these families. 

Oxfam has allocated around HK$5 million to respond to this emergency. We urgently need your help to do more.

We also ensure that donations for each emergency are used for the people affected by each disaster, and have a strict audit and monitoring system. Also, Oxfam staff are in charge of everything from sourcing to purchasing to quality checking to distributing relief supplies, and the entire process is open, fair and transparent.

Oxfam in DPR Korea

Oxfam has provided humanitarian relief and implemented development programmes in the DPR Korea since 1997. These efforts include the provision of emergency food assistance, and water, sanitation and hygiene to vulnerable groups. We also support agricultural rehabilitation in cooperative farms to improve sustainable food production, and offer training opportunities for government officials from the State Committee of Emergency Disaster Management.