Some 300,000 are homeless, and vital rice crops are destroyed because of recent severe flooding in North Korea.
August 23, 2007
World Vision staff in South Korea attended an afternoon ceremony at Inchon Harbor on Aug. 20 to celebrate 2,000 relief kits being shipped to assist flood survivors in North Korea. World Vision is the first international aid agency to send supplies to North Korea's families and children, currently affected by devastating flooding that is considered the country's "most serious humanitarian crisis in a decade." © 2007 Hyun Jung Lee/World Vision
World Vision in South Korea has shipped 2,000 relief kits to help assist desperate flood survivors living in North Korea's flood-devastated capital city, Pyongyang.
"Recent floods have severely impacted the country's food capacity, such that relief assistance is likely to be necessary for many months to come," says Richard Rumsey, a World Vision emergency relief staff member.
World Vision is the first international aid agency to send relief supplies to North Korea's families and children who are affected by this crisis.
Some 300,000 Homeless
While there is little information about conditions on the ground at this time, the Korean Central News Agency reports that approximately 300,000 people in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are homeless and 200 have died as a result of torrential rains and flooding this month. Roads and bridges have been destroyed, power lines are down, and some 10 percent of North Korea's key rice production farmland has been flooded, effectively destroying the year's harvest.
"North Korea is experiencing its most serious humanitarian crisis in a decade," says James East, World Vision's communications director for the Asia Pacific region. It is the worst disaster to strike North Korea since the deadly food shortages there in the 1990s, a crisis that persists to this day.
In a show of support for their North Korean neighbors' dire needs, some 30 World Vision staff and volunteers in South Korea worked through the night Sunday, packing supplies into the 2,000 relief kits that contain:
- Flour and canned foods
- Soap and a towel
- One portable gas cooking stove
- Waterproof mats
On Monday, our staff in South Korea attended a ceremony at Inchon Harbor to commemorate the aid shipment. The relief kits were expected to arrive at Nampo Harbour, west of Pyongyang (close to many of the worst flood-affected areas), around noon on Tuesday.
Korea National Economic Cooperation Agency (KNECA), a North Korean counterpart to World Vision's office in South Korea for more than seven years, will distribute the relief packages to 2,000 households on Duru Island in Pyongyang. World Vision operates a farming project in this area believed to be particularly affected by the flooding.
World Vision staff members in South Korea assemble and stack relief kits to be shipped to flood survivors in North Korea. Valued at U.S. $200,000, the kits were sent on Aug. 20 for delivery at Nampo Harbour, west of Pyongyang, North Korea, on Aug. 21. © 2007 Hyun Jung Lee/World Vision
Our humanitarian emergency response team hopes to gain access to affected areas within the next two weeks to obtain an accurate assessment of ongoing relief needs.
World Vision in South Korea is committing $2.5 million in relief supplies to support KNECA's aid work in DPRK.
World Vision in North Korea
In cooperation with the Korea Academy of Agricultural Science in Daehongdan, World Vision's South Korea office also supports six development projects in the North, including the greenhouse production of potato seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Agricultural consultants visit project sites monthly to monitor and provide technical advice.
Individual donors, churches, and the South Korean government largely fund this work.
World Vision's current relief effort in North Korea is in coordination with an umbrella coalition of 58 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) — the Korean NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea (KNCCK).
>> Read a Reuters account
detailing the floods in North Korea.
Two Ways You Can Help
>> Pray for those affected by the severe flooding in North Korea, especially for children, who are particularly vulnerable during such disasters. Pray that World Vision's relief supplies will quickly reach the suffering people who need them the most.
>> Donate now to World Vision's Disaster Response fund. Your contribution enables us to respond quickly to disasters around the world, including the current severe flooding in North Korea.