World Vision has stepped up its relief response to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s (North Korea) flood devastation, by taking part in two air shipments carrying essential medical items into Pyongyang this week.
The first plane, chartered by NGO Samaritan's Purse, contained around US$8.3 million worth of relief goods from a variety of charities and NGOs.
Among the goods on board was $1.2 million worth of antibiotics, rehydration solutions, multi-vitamins as well as anti-diarrhoea and anti-inflammatory medicines donated by NGO MAP International through World Vision.
Also on the flight were 89, 000 doses of Tetanus/Diphtheria vaccines, with a value of around US $1.5 million. These were donated to World Vision Canada by Canadian pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur.
The second delivery will leave from Singapore with US$190,000 of essential drugs sourced by World Vision's international humanitarian emergency team. The shipment contains a large variety of bulk supplies, including anaesthetics, painkillers and eye care treatments and will tentatively leave Singapore on Monday 3 September.
The goods will be transferred on arrival to KAPES, one of World Vision's local counterparts in North Korea. Both deliveries will be used to provide much needed medical assistance to people affected by the floods.
As well as the initial damage and injuries sustained, the floods have affected clean water supplies, contributing to disease especially in children.
A small World Vision relief team will enter DPRK on September 8 for five days to review distribution methods and assess the relief programs in place. The team intends to visit World Vision relief programmes and existing projects in South Pyongyang Province, North Hwanghae Province and around Pyongyang.
Regional Humanitarian Emergency Affairs Director Richard Rumsey says the visit is well-timed.
"We are pleased that we can monitor the distribution of many of the medical supplies we have arranged to send. As well, we will be among the people and provinces worst affected, giving us a unique opportunity to plan for relief to meet their needs," he said.
This week the United Nations acknowledged the pressing needs of North Korea's flood-affected communities with the announcement of a US$14m flash appeal. The funds raised through the appeal will assist almost one million people alongside the national government's response, focusing on urgent provision of essential medicines, food and water.
The floods, which hit on August 14, have affected nine provinces including the capital of Pyongyang and left hundreds of thousands of families and communities without food and water. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods and are now living in temporary shelter.
A previous World Vision Korea shipment of 2000 family packs containing flour, canned food, medicines, soap, towel, portable gas burner for cooking, clothes and water-proof mats arrived in North Korea on Tuesday 21 August. Local partner agency Korea National Economic Cooperation Agency (KNECA) will handle the distribution of these goods in North Hwanghae province.
World Vision continues to implement ten humanitarian development projects in the country, including enriched noodles and soybean milk for children in kindergartens and primary schools, and significant agricultural programmes based on reduction of food shortages. World Vision has also been working with Korea Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the agricultural sector for the past seven years. World Vision's total expenditure in North Korea last year was US$3.7 million.