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DPR Korea: Typhoon Soulik - DREF n° MDRKP011 Final Report

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Description of the disaster

Tropical Storm Soulik formed off the coast of Guam on 16 August 2018 as a small storm and gradually grew to a medium-sized typhoon moving towards the Korean peninsula. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, Typhoon Soulik struck the southern island of Jeju in South Korea in the early morning of 23 August 2018 causing heavy rain and gale-force winds. Typhoon Soulik weakened after making landfall in South Korea and eventually changed its direction without crossing DPRK directly. However, the rain belt caused by the Typhoon brought unstable weather and heavy downpours to DPRK. Heavy rainfall across the Korean Peninsula led to flash flooding and mudslides along the rugged terrain in Kangwon and South Hamgyong provinces with close to 60,000 people displaced.

DPRK had already suffered from a heatwave in July and August 2018 which affected 13,768 people in South Hamgyong and South Phyongan Provinces. Many people had not recovered from the heatwaves at the onset of the rains following typhoon Soulik. The typhoon therefore further increased the food insecurity, not just in the affected areas, but also in the entire country which is dependent on the Public Distribution System and agricultural outputs throughout the country. In order to better prepare for the potential risk, and to allow immediate disaster response, the DPRK RCS, with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), requested an imminent crisis DREF allocation of CHF 50,960, to provide early warning actions, mobilization of volunteers and staff, needs assessment, and provision of non-food relief items (NFIs). The operation timeframe was initially one month. Following the rains and floods in Kangwon and South Hamgyong provinces, and further assessments, the plan of action and budget was revised. A 2nd DREF allocation of an additional CHF 291,086 was approved, bringing the total budget to CHF 342,046. Based on the needs and a rapid assessment, the number of people to be assisted was revised to 42,500 direct beneficiaries, with a focus in two provinces; Kangwon and South Hamgyong. Due to the requirement to scale up the operation, the operation timeframe was extended from one to five months.

Summary of response

Overview of Host National Society

The DPRK RCS branches mobilized 435 volunteers (295 in Munchon City and 140 in Kowon County) to provide early warning actions and assist in evacuations after receiving the warning of Tropical Storm Soulik from the government.

The early warning and evacuation activities provided by the DPRK RCS volunteers saved the lives of many people as they were not prepared for disaster since these areas had not experienced natural hazard events of this scale in the DREF operation DREF n° MDRKP011 Date of Issue: 19 May 2019 Glide n° TC-2018-000138-PRK Operation start date: 23 August 2018 Operation end date: 23 January 2019 Host National Society: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Red Cross Society (DPRK RCS) Emergency Plan of Action Final Report DPR Korea: Typhoon Soulik past. The DPRK RCS volunteers were also mobilized to assist with the relief activities of the government and they played an active role in search and rescue, first aid, psychological support, and hygiene promotion activities. Prior to the typhoon making landfall, the following activities were undertaken by the DPRK RCS:

• The NDRT and Provincial Disaster Response Teams (PDRT) were alerted and on 24-hour standby, ready to provide timely and efficient response.

• A typhoon warning was conveyed to 14 city/county branches across the country and 5 provincial branches in North and South Hwanghae, Kangwon, and North and South Hamgyong where Typhoon Soulik was likely to pass.

• More than 90 county-level branches in the above 5 provinces took necessary measures to respond, in close cooperation with local government, giving priority in the following order:

  1. Discussions on preventing loss of life and potential damage to dwellings, public buildings and croplands.

  2. Volunteer mobilization plan for more than 42,000 people and prioritized activity designation.

  3. Review and update of the current community-based early warning and evacuation systems.

  4. Re-confirmation of evacuation routes and sites at community level.

  5. Early warning and evacuation simulation exercises at community level.

  6. Preparedness of DPRK RCS interventions including search and rescue, first aid, and dissemination on water borne diseases to communities.

  7. Stock check and preparation for distribution of NFIs1 currently prepositioned in DPRK RCS disaster preparedness (DP) warehouses.