In pictures: IFRC President shows solidarity with flood-affected victims in DPRK

Mr. Tadateru Konoé, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), concluded a ten day visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) including to the flood-affected areas in the northeast of the country.

The floods, which struck 100 days before the President’s visit, affected six counties in North Hamgyong province. The floods damaged or destroyed at least 30,000 homes. 70,000 people were displaced and an estimated 600,000 people were affected. Many families lost all their possessions.

The Government has been leading efforts to build almost 12,000 new family housing units, and in past weeks displaced people have been able to move from temporary shelters to their new homes.

Together with the DPRK Red Cross staff and volunteers, Mr. Konoé met with flood survivors in two of the worst affected areas, Musan County and neighbouring Hoeryong City. He witnessed first-hand the reconstruction efforts as well as the remaining humanitarian needs. 

“I was very impressed by the speed of the construction of the new houses and to see that so many people have been able to move from the temporary shelter to a permanent home, getting protection from the harsh winter," said Mr Konoé.

“However, support is still needed to repair or reconstruct thousands of partially damaged houses, to safeguard the health and improve the welfare of the affected families. This is also an opportunity to build back better and make the affected communities more resilient towards disasters.”


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 1

The DPRK Government mobilised a massive reconstruction effort, building almost 12,000 new family housing units before winter set in. It is reported that displaced families living in temporary shelters have now moved into their new homes. 


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 2

42-year-old Hong Chol Min and his wife Jo Hye Yong received the early warning and were able to evacuate before the flood, but their home and all the other houses in their community were destroyed. They first lived in a temporary shelter made from a tarpaulin provided by the Red Cross, but have now moved into their new home, close by in Hoeryong City. 


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 3

After the flood destroyed her home, Kim Mun Ok,62, received a kitchen set, warm bedding and other relief items from the Red Cross. After moving into her new home she has been using the items, especially the jerry can for water and the kitchen utensils for cooking.


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 4

Kim Sang Nyo,57, survived the devastating floods that swept through her community in Musan county, but her home was completely destroyed. Like many others, she received relief items from the Red Cross and lived in a temporary shelter, but is now happy to have moved into her new home.


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 5

Emergency relief supplies have made a big difference. In the weeks following the floods, 28,000 people benefited from emergency shelter materials, kitchen sets, warm bedding, hygiene items and water containers provided by the Red Cross.


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 6

The IFRC has also contributed to the reconstruction programme by purchasing 52,200 corrugated iron roofing sheets from suppliers in China. This represents around 30% of the commitment made by the international community to provide roofing for 10,000 units.


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 7

IFRC President Konoé visiting a water pumping station damaged by the floods in Musan County. The IFRC and the DPRK Red Cross are in advanced discussions with the Government to support rehabilitation of the water supply infrastructure, to provide safe water to the affected communities.


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 8

Due to extensive damage to infrastructure such as roads and bridges, many remote villages were cut-off for weeks. The Government reportedly mobilised 370,000 volunteers to support clean-up efforts, repair roads and other infrastructure, and work on the construction of houses.


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 9

Kim Sung Suk, 75, and her grandson Ris Sok Gon, 22, stand in front of their new house built by the government in a remote flood-affected community in Hoeryong City, North Hamgyong Province.


In Pictures DPRK President Konoe 10

Kim Sung Suk, 75, lost her house and all her belongings during the floods. She was evacuated at midnight and when returning home in the morning, her whole house was destroyed. She then lived in temporary shelter and is now happy to have a proper roof over her head.


The IFRC has launched a 15.2 million Swiss Franc emergency appeal (USD 15.5 million, Euros 13.9 million) to reach more than 300,000 with humanitarian assistance over the next 12 months.


All photos were taken by Mirva Helenius, IFRC