The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $6 million to help North Korea respond to damages caused by Tropical Cyclone Lingling, according to Reliefweb on Friday.
The typhoon struck North Korea in early September, damaging hundreds of houses and inundating farmland as it passed through the region.
“The CERF funding will enable UN agencies and the organizations they work with to rapidly scale up assistance and provide a lifeline for many who have been left on the brink of survival after the cyclone,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said in a Wednesday announcement.
According to a CERF press release, the funding will help “improve urgent food security and nutrition interventions, and support increased access to water, sanitation and hygiene services for the most vulnerable communities in North Hwanghae, South Hwanghae and South Hamgyong provinces.”
The $6 million will be prioritized to help women and children, people with disabilities and the elderly first, the press release adds.
The UN’s relief coordinator also called for additional donations to help the ongoing and wider relief efforts in North Korea, with multiple UN agencies working in-country.
“In addition to the CERF funding, I urge more donors to step up their emergency assistance so together we can meet the critical needs of the most vulnerable people in the DPRK,” Lowcock added.
North Korea is prone to floods, droughts and other forms of extreme weather, which often cause loss of life and damage to agricultural yields and buildings.
According to the UN’s assessment, the cyclone brought “heavy rains and flooding that destroyed crops in the country’s breadbasket region.”
“Field visits carried out following the storm found that maize, rice, chestnut and vegetable crops were damaged and up to 60 percent of soybean production was destroyed,” the CERF press release added.
But prior to the cyclone hitting North Korea, the country’s media reported that DPRK-leader Kim Jong Un had called an emergency meeting to prepare for the incoming extreme weather.
During the meeting, the DPRK leader was mildly critical of local officials who he said were taking an “easy-going” attitude towards storm preparations.
In the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) also reported that crops “fell down, inundated or buried in 46,200 hectares of farmland,” adding that “more than 460 houses of 210 blocks and public buildings of 15 blocks were completely or partly destroyed or inundated.”
But an additional report from the North’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun issued later indicated that the damage had been “smaller than expected.”
“Recovery works are proceeding at a rapid speed,” Kang Il Sop, who serves as the chairman of the State Emergency Disaster Committee, said at the time.
North Korea still struggles with food security, with agricultural yields and imports often not enough to cover the needs of the North Korean population, further amplifying the effect of losses to extreme weather events.
According to a joint UN report published earlier this year, 10.1 million people in the DPRK are still food insecure.