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DPR Korea: Typhoon appeal No. 25/2000 - Final report

Publication date

Launched on: 19 September 2000 for 3 months for CHF 950, 000 (USD 559, 000/EUR 642, 000)
Revised budget: CHF 596,124 (USD 351,000/EUR 403, 000) and 3 months extension
Beneficiaries: 12,000 people
Period covered: October 2000 to September 2001
Last. Update issued 14 February 2001
"At a glance"

Appeal coverage: Covered
Related Appeals DPR Korea (01.38/2002); East Asia regional programmes (01.37/2002)

The Disaster/Situation Typhoon Prapiroon (Tropical Storm 12) battered the north-east coast of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 30 August 2000. It was the worst storm in the area for 30 years and raged for 27 hours. It brought heavy rain and high winds. It was followed by storm surges and high tides that caused back-up of water drainage from rivers and estuaries, extensive damage to houses, crops and infrastructure. The most severely affected provinces were North and South Hamgyong and Kangwon. The existence of pre positioned stocks in provincial and central warehouses allowed the National Society to deliver essential relief immediately.

Operational Developments:

Typhoon Prapiroon (Tropical Storm No.12) hit the north-east coast of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) late on 30 August 2000. It brought 27 hours of heavy rain that caused flash flooding in the east of the country. Because the storm coincided with a tidal wave in the East sea of Korea, roads, bridges, railways, communications, houses, paddy fields and land were seriously damaged. The Government reported 46 deaths and stated that this was the country's worst natural disaster since 1995.

Many families were made homeless and lost all of their possessions and were forced to stay with neighbours or in nurseries and kindergartens and other such buildings.

South Hamgyong Province was the worst hit: 11 cities and counties were severely affected with 12,000 left homeless. In the Hoesang District in Hamhung city, five villages were hard hit by flash flooding and 550 people lost their homes and belongings. The district Red Cross branch reported 180 injured and provided first aid to approximately 60 people and referred others to hospitals.

The Government's priority was to ensure that people's homes were rebuilt and that basic infrastructure was rehabilitated. However, with limited resources the Government was unable to address all needs. Because roads are used for transporting harvest produce as well as the distribution of food aid, the Government focused resources on reconstructing infrastructure. Given the continuing chronic food shortages that have plagued DPR Korea since the mid-1990s the ability to move food from the rice-bowl area in the south to the more vulnerable northeast is crucial.

The local population, including the army, were mobilised to rehabilitate affected areas with a focus on repairs to roads and other infrastructure.

The DPRK Red Cross (RC) and the Federation initially identified 1,200 homeless families (6,000 beneficiaries), in the four most affected areas, for shelter reconstruction assistance. Following further assessments this target population was expanded to 12,000 people. However, the focus on shelter was shifted to winter clothing and water and sanitation activities, when the procurement of cement at short notice from DPRK and China was found to be unworkable.

Procurement and distribution of cement for 1,200 households was planned in the initial appeal. When it was found, however, that cement was only available at short notice in bulk, in DPRK (after initial advice to the contrary), and that procurement from China was also unfeasible - mostly due to poor weather conditions for rail transport - this activity was cancelled. These complications caused a two month delay in the operation.

As the temperature in the typhoon affected areas was expected to drop to minus 5-10=B0C from early December, the National Society and Federation refocused on the provision of winter clothing (winter jackets, shoes, blankets) and basic household items such as cooking sets. Furthermore, concerns over access to safe drinking water for the population in the affected areas, resulted in the Federation and DPRK RC including some basic water supply and sanitation interventions in the operation.

The criteria for the selection of beneficiaries was as follows: (i) total or partial loss of property and (ii) the family having a low self help ability.

Red Cross Red Crescent Action

A joint assessment team composed of the DPRK RC Deputy Secretary General, the director of the disaster preparedness/disaster response (DP/DR) department and the Federation Head of Delegation visited the worst affected areas in South Hamgyong province. Provincial and county Red Cross chapter played an active role in assessment and disaster response activities through the mobilisation of volunteers. First Aid posts were established at road rehabilitation sites to provide first aid assistance to the population engaged in manual repair work. The Red Cross first aid post at village level coordinated their activities with the Ri-hospital and doctors and professional health staff.

Following the joint assessment by the Federation and DPRK, an appeal (25/2000) focusing on shelter rehabilitation was launched on 19 September for CHF 950,000 to assist 6,000 homeless people in four of the worst hit counties in South Hamgyong province. The number of beneficiaries was later increased to 12,000 and the budget revised.

Immediately after the disaster, 6,000 blankets, 829 cooking sets, water purification tablets, first aid kits and plastic sheeting were released for distribution from the DPRK RC disaster preparedness warehouse.

Subsequently, 12,000 winter jackets, 12,000 winter boots, 6,000 blankets, 1,571 cooking sets, and additional water purification tablets (WPT) were procured and distributed. The rehabilitation of damaged water supply systems was undertaken in 10 villages.


Objective 1: Distribute the first aid kits to temporary and permanent first aid posts.

120 first aid kits were released and distributed from the DPRK RC DP warehouse. These stocks were later replenished.


Objective 1: To minimise the risk of the outbreak of waterborne diseases in the targeted areas by distributing water purification tablets and repairing village water and sanitation systems.

Children's Aid Direct (CAD) office in DPRK made its stock of 3,600 containers of WPT (each container contained 800 tablets) available for the Red Cross to distribute in affected villages in South Hamgyong province. The DPRK RC headquarters relief team, in cooperation with provincial branches, developed a distribution plan for WPT and this was implemented by local branches in affected Ris/Dongs.

The Federation water and sanitation delegate conducted an assessment of 10 affected ri/dongs in April 2001. An assessment before April was not possible due to the severe winter conditions. Materials were procured and distributed in June 2001. The DPRK RC and the Federation conducted monitoring visits to monitor the distribution of water and sanitation materials in July. The implementation of the water and sanitation programme was delayed several months after the distribution of materials due to the onset of harvesting session. Water and sanitation activities were completed in the ten target villages in September 2001.

Relief distributions

Objective 1: To provide emergency relief assistance to 12,000 typhoon affected beneficiaries.

Blankets: A total of 12,000 procured and distributed in September 2000 and January 2001. DP stocks replenished with 6,000 blankets.

Cooking Sets: 2,400 kitchen sets procured and distributed in January 2001. Beneficiaries expressed a preference for locally manufactured cooking sets however DPRK suppliers were unable to provide these at short notice. Cooking sets manufactured in China were sourced.

Distribution of winter clothing: In late November, 3,325 winter jackets, previously donated by Norwegian Red Cross, were released from the DP warehouse and distributed in Hamhung city districts. The second phase distribution of 8,675 winter jackets and 12,000 pairs of winter boots took place in January 2001. DP stocks were also replenished at this time.

Distribution of BP-5 high energy biscuits: One hundred and forty nine cartons of Norwegian Red Cross BP-5 high energy biscuits were distributed in kindergartens and nurseries in four areas of Hamhung city in November 2001.


In DPRK little mechanical equipment is available and materials are in short supply. Most of the reconstruction of infrastructure was undertaken by hand and materials were transported by ox and bull cart. There were major problems with logistics because of the poor condition of roads and transport, the availability of fuel and raw materials. This was worsened by bad weather that destroyed roads and bridges.


Plastic Sheeting: 10 rolls of plastic sheeting were distributed in four areas of Hamhung city immediately after the storm. These stocks were replenished during the operation.

National Society Capacity Building

The Typhoon operation in South Hamgyong province was the first Red Cross operation in the area. A two day disaster preparedness and response workshop was organised by the DPRK RC and the Federation on 19 and 20 December 2000. Participants (staff and volunteers) were given an overview of the history and background of Red Cross and trained in disaster management covering assessment, beneficiary selection, field logistics, and distributions.

Last Objective - Coordination

A Coordination Group was established under the UNDMT consisting of UN agencies, the Federation, NGOs and in-country donors.

As a result of its role in disaster response operations during the 1995 and 1996 floods, and the 1997 drought, the DPRK Red Cross has been increasingly recognised by the Government and international agencies as a key player in disaster preparedness and response. A Memorandum of Understanding between the DPRK Red Cross and the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee (FDRC) was signed in 2000. The document outlines the roles and responsibilities of DPRK Red Cross in disaster preparedness and response.

The Federation and the DPRK Red Cross regularly met with the FDRC at central and provincial level.

For further details please contact: Aurelia Balpe, Phone : 41 22 7304352; Fax: 41 22 733 03 95; email:

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

This operation sought to administer to the immediate requirements of the victims of this disaster. Subsequent operations to promote sustainable development or long-term capacity building will require additional support, and these programmes are outlined on the Federation's website.

John Horekens
Relationship Management Department

Hiroshi Higashiura
Asia Pacific Department