The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said Monday it will be giving 56,000 Swiss francs, or around $56,200 to North Korea as emergency relief in the aftermath of Typhoon Lingling.
On its official Twitter account on Monday, the IFRC’s Asia Pacific branch said teams of its workers were in North Korean villages assessing the damage done by Typhoon Lingling, which made landfall on the Korean Peninsula over the weekend and wreaked havoc in North Korea’s major food producing provinces before passing through the country early Monday morning.
Red Cross workers distributed emergency relief material like “tarpaulins, quilts, shelter tools, hygiene kits and kitchen supplies to affected families” in the North, read the IFRC tweet.
State media in the North put casualties from the storm at five dead and three injured, and said over 460 homes had either been completely or partially destroyed, flooded or damaged, in addition to around 458 square kilometers (177 square miles) of farmland.
North and South Hwanghae Provinces, known to be the country’s breadbasket, were the most heavily hit, though the storm passed through nearly all its provinces. This further raised concerns about the North’s already dire food situation, which has already warranted international relief efforts this year after UN inspectors found the country is facing its worst food shortage in over a decade.
The impact of the storm on North Korea was also noticeable in the country’s commemorations for the 71st anniversary of the establishment of its government on Sept. 9.
As one of the country’s most important holidays, the “Day of the Foundation of the Republic” is usually celebrated with major public ceremonies like a meeting between top officials of the government, ruling Workers’ Party and military, followed by a joint visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang to pay respects to the country’s founder Kim Il Sung.
Last year, a massive military parade on Kim Il Sung Square took place to mark the 70th anniversary.
No such fanfare was reported by state media this year, apart from a variety of congratulatory messages North Korean leader Kim Jong-un received from friendly countries like China, Russia and Cuba.
Official reports did, however, closely detail efforts by the government to provide relief to people affected by the storm, stressing that much resources were being put into rebuilding.
According to an official at South Korea’s Unification Ministry, such reports suggest that the anniversary ceremonies did not take place as most of the country’s energies were focused on typhoon recovery efforts.
BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [firstname.lastname@example.org]