Flash Floods in DPR Korea
In late July 2012, heavy rainfall and the effects of cyclone Khanun caused flash floods that affected 63 counties in all 11 provinces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The most affected provinces were South Phyongan, North Phyongan, Kangwon, North Hamgyong and South Hamgyong.
According to reports from late August, the flash floods damaged or destroyed over 70, 000 buildings and houses, leaving 169 dead, 154 injured, 400 missing and displacing more than 200,000 people. In total, a population of 7000, 000 was affected. The total number of public health and education buildings damaged was 208, including 69 health facilities. Out of 49 hospitals, seven were washed away.
On 31 July 2012, an inter-agency team consisting of the UNRC office, UNDP, WFP, WHO, UNICEF, FAO, UNFPA, EUPS1 1,2,3,5, SDC and MoFA/NCC2 visited the two worst affected areas to assess the situation. The Health and Nutrition as well as Water and Sanitation Clusters were activated and a Health & Nutrition Needs Assessment was conducted on 6-7 August 2012. UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO accompanied by senior officials from the Ministry of Public Health and the provincial health bureau assessed the condition of damaged hospitals and priority health needs of the affected population.
National, provincial, and county health authorities mobilized more than 1,500 health workers for mitigation and public health activities, surveillance control and prevention of disease outbreaks. The Government also mobilized helicopters for rescue works and provided tents to the affected population. All non affected health facilities were activated to care for the injured and sick.
Emergency Health Kits were initially provided by the IFRC, followed by ten more Inter-agency kits distributed to the 10 most affected counties, two sent from WHO’s Regional stockpile. The WHO DPR Korea Country Office is collaborating closely with the Ministry and other UN agencies to effectively respond to the emergency and is continuing to monitor the situation. Moreover, WHO-SEARO released $134 130 out of the WHO South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF) funds for emergency relief and public health measures in DPRK.