The European Commission has donated €300,000 ($311,526) for ongoing flood relief efforts in the DPRK’s typhoon hit north-east regions, according to a press release from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations issued on Tuesday.
The funds will be directed towards replenishing emergency items including tents, shelter kits, blankets and hygiene kits.
“With severe winter already setting in, it is of paramount importance to ensure that affected families will continue to receive much-needed supplies to help them survive through the difficult days ahead,” Pedro-Luis Rojo Garcia, Head of the Pacific Regional Office of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), said.
Other NGOs like the Red Cross have been working in the region, and the EU’s donation follows earlier aid from the UN’s World Food Program.
“From a strictly humanitarian point of view, the EU contribution is quite valuable, of course, as it aims at providing immediate relief to a part of the country that is often worse off than the rest of North Korea,” Gianluca Spezza, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Central Lancashire focused on international development and North Korea, told NK News.
Flood repairs have been closely reported on by North Korean media in recent months. The latest article from Workers’ Party organ the Rodong Sinmun reported that “at least 11,900 dwelling houses were completed in the flood-hit areas.”
Numerous Korean Central Television (KCTV) broadcasts showed rows of new houses being rapidly constructed, among reports the North Korean authorities had paused parts of the 200-day building campaign to focus on relief efforts.
More recent reports from DPRK state media began to call the efforts a “victory,” implying the relief work was coming to a close, though the EU’s donation and press release indicates there is more to do.
“The effects of the typhoon on housing, crops, and communication lines have been witnessed by UN agencies staff traveling around the country,” Spezza continued.
“They serve as a reminder that the DPRK is still severely aid-dependent as its current infrastructure and institutional capacity do not seem to work on contingency.”
The typhoon and heavy rains struck North Korea in late August, killing hundreds and displacing thousands of families. Roads, rail, and other infrastructure were also submerged.
Previous NK Pro reports have shown parts of the damage on satellite imagery. The damaged roads also meant North Korea may have repurposed some of its sanctioned vessels to help with the relief efforts.
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Featured Image: Flood by leppre on 2011-02-07 07:33:42