Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
Red Cross granted exemption from UN sanctions to provide humanitarian aid in DPRK
Pyongyang/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 24 February 2020 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Socieities (IFRC) has been granted an exemption to United Nations sanctions, imposed on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 (2006) and subsequent resolutions, allowing for the provision of life-saving support to protect people from the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19. The potential for an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea poses a threat to millions of people who are already in need of humanitarian assistance. Xavier Castellanos, IFRC’s Asia Pacific Regional Director said: “We know that there is urgent need of personal protective gear and testing kits, items vital to prepare for a possible outbreak. This exemption is a life-saving intervention and an important measure to ensure that sanctions do not bear a negative impact on the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” On 11 February, IFRC launched a 32 million Swiss francglobal emergency appealto support National Societies with community-based health activities, access to basic services, andthe management of misinformation and stigma. “We are grateful for the speed and urgent attention given by the United Nations Sanctions Committee to our request and that, as a result of this exemption, the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will be granted humanitarian assistance,” Castellanos added. IFRC has had a permanent presence in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 1995, supporting the humanitarian work of the Red Cross Society of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is one of the only organizations with access to communities across the whole country. The Red Cross has sent volunteers to support the Ministry of Public Health, working closely with healthcare providers to support COVID-19 screening and to promote effective hygiene practices. They are coordinating with local health staff and government departments to engage with communities and visit remote households that are hard to reach.
Red Cross teams on high alert as Typhoon Lingling threatens five million in DPR Korea
Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 6 September 2019 – As many as 5.3 million people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are potentially at risk as Typhoon Lingling works its way towards the country’s south west . Mohamed Babiker, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Country Office in DPRK, said: “We are concerned about the potentially serious impact that Typhoon Lingling could have when it makes landfall on Saturday. Last year, despite not even making landfall, typhoon Soulik displaced nearly 60,000 people.” “Strong winds, flash floods and landslides pose risk of serious injury and loss of life, damage to homes and infrastructure and destruction of vital crops. And Typhoon Lingling represents just the latest in a long line of challenges that communities in DPR Korea face, including severe food shortages as a result of ongoing drought.” DPRK Red Cross has activated its early warning and preparedness systems and will, with the help of its extensive network of volunteers, issue storm alerts to potentially affected communities in North and South Hwanghae, as well as up to 4-5 additional provinces based on the forecasts. Red Cross volunteers and national and provincial disaster response teams are on standby to help with search and rescue, evacuation, first aid, distribution of emergency items and activities to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases. To support this preparedness work, IFRC has released 56,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to help mobilize emergency supplies such as tarpaulins, cooking sets, quilts, hygiene kits, water containers, water purification tablets and shelter tools. These items are in strategically-placed warehouses throughout the country and can be quickly dispatched as needed.  Source: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
DPR Korea: Malnutrition and disease on the rise as drought ruins early harvest
Beijing/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 18 July 2019 –-An early season drought in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has cut by half the expected production of a critical harvest, increasing pressure on highly vulnerable groups across the country. The drought, which started early this spring after months of unusually erratic weather, has destroyed crops that would have been harvested between June and September. The drought follows a lean 2018 where food production was 12 per cent below the previous year and the lowest in a decade. Mohamed Babiker, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) country office in DPRK, said: “We are already seeing the impacts of this drought on vulnerable people. Rates of malnutrition and water borne diseases like diarrhoea and colitis are on the rise.” In May, an assessment in drought-stricken areas by the DPRK Red Cross and IFRC found that this year’s harvest will be less than half of what would be possible with adequate rain, normal temperatures, the right irrigation and other inputs such as fertilizers. Following this assessment, IFRC released nearly 250,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Emergency Relief Fund to support the deployment and operation of mobile water pumps in an effort to mitigate the effects of the drought. This intervention saw crop yields double in targeted areas. Given the continued severity of the situation, the IFRC is now calling for an additional 472,000 Swiss francs to provide fertilizers, herbicides, irrigation and water and sanitation supplies to improve crop yields and stem the spread of water borne diseases in the most affected communities in North Phyongan province. Mohamed Babiker said: “We need to act quickly to ensure that what can be saved from this harvest is saved, and to safeguard the food security of people who don’t have the resources to cope with even a small food shortfall. “Water pumps and irrigation supplies can make a significant difference. They can be life saving for a population that is chronically undernourished and at risk of disease.” The DPRK Red Cross Society is the leading humanitarian organization in the country and one of the only organisations with access to communities across the whole country. Through the Red Cross’ network of 110,000 volunteers, including 60 national and 150 provincial disaster response team members, it responds to life-saving humanitarian needs in terms of food security, nutrition, health, and water and sanitation. The IFRC has had a permanent presence in DPRK since 1995 and is supporting the humanitarian and development programmes of the DPRK Red Cross Society.
DPR Korea: Hunger warning after early drought
Beijing/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 13 May 2019 – Early seasonal drought in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) could exacerbate hunger, malnutrition and health problems for thousands of children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, older people and the chronically ill. The drought, which started in early spring after months of unusually erratic weather, is harming crops that should be harvested in June and September. The drought follows a lean 2018 where food production was 12 per cent below the previous year and the lowest in a decade. In all, an estimated 10.1 million people (40 per cent of the population) are in need of urgent food assistance – a situation that this drought could only worsen. Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) country office in DPRK, Mohamed Babiker, said: “We are particularly concerned about the impact that this early drought will have on children and adults who are already struggling to survive. Even before this drought, one in five children under five years old was stunted because of poor nutrition. We are concerned that these children will not be able to cope with further stress on their bodies.” The worst affects of the drought will only be seen in the coming months. However, the IFRC and the DPRK Red Cross are already expanding programmes to help at-risk and highly vulnerable communities to mitigate any food shortages. The IFRC has released about 77,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to bolster national Red Cross efforts to help 22,000 people. The DPRK Red Cross will use this money to deploy water pumps so drought-affected communities can irrigate their crops. This approach was first successfully trialled during a heatwave in 2018. In addition, the Red Cross is running about 100 community greenhouses to grow vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, chilis and mushrooms all year round. Volunteers are also looking to pilot household greenhouses to ensure families can eat green vegetables all year round. Speaking about the causes of the current drought and the broader prevailing food crisis, IFRC’s disaster risk management delegate, Daniel Wallinder, said: “It seems clear, looking back at data collected over the past 50 years, that the current climate issues in DPRK are strongly related to climate change. What we see now is lack of snow during the winter leaving crops exposed to freezing temperatures as well as prolonged dry spells due to rainfall that is lower and less predictable. For people who are living on the margins, these changes can be devastating.”