Torrential rains in DPR Korea - August 2011

Funds allocated:
US$ 310 000

Affected population:
80 000

The emergency

North and South Hwanghae provinces of DPR Korea experienced heavy rainfall and repeated storms during June - August 2011. Over 80 000 people were affected and 40 000 displaced. In addition, 10 600 houses were completely and 760 were partially damaged; 24 health facilities were submerged and partially damaged; 34 deaths and 887 injuries were also reported.

Hygiene and sanitation facilities for the affected population was a major concern. Increased incidences of diarrhoea, acute malnutrition, respiratory infection and skin diseases were recorded. Water supply was extremely limited and wherever available, the quality was compromised. Shortage of essential medicines and laboratory consumables in health facilities made management of cases very difficult.

Funds allocated

The Government of DPR Korea declared an emergency situation. An Inter-agency UN assessment was conducted followed by health cluster activation. US$ 310 000 from WHO SEARHEF was provided to the two most affected provinces – North and South Hwanghae. The funds were allocated for procurement of six IASC1 Emergency Health kits for replenishment, distribution and stockpiling, 900 blankets, 20 kits of basic equipment, essential medicines and essential tools for ri-hospitals and 30 bicycles for mobility of household doctors. Funds were also provided also for strengthening surveillance control systems at provincial, county and primary levels through provision of four rapid diagnostic test kits and five kits of laboratory consumables for provincial anti-epidemic stations and printing of reporting forms on infectious diseases control.

Ri hospital staff received new doctor’s bags and basic equipment
Ri hospital staff received new doctor’s bags and basic equipment

How it made a difference

More that 800 doctors and nurses were mobilized for first aid, mitigation and public health measures and 35 non-damaged hospitals were made available to support the affected population. The Health Cluster was activated and Rapid Health Assessment (RHA) conducted by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and WFP. Two IAEH kits were distributed from WHO stockpiles and six new kits procured for further distribution and replenishment of stockpiles. While the government initiated rehabilitation of hospital buildings, WHO provided blankets, basic equipment and essential tools for health care providers and laboratory diagnostic kits for detection and management of diseases and for prevention of epidemics. All activities were well coordinated with other health cluster partners.

Patients relocated to a safe part of the hospital
Patients relocated to a safe part of the hospital

Disease surveillance and management of water-borne diseases

WHO support was provided to two provincial epidemic stations for strengthening surveillance control systems. Rapid diagnostic test kits, laboratory supplies for diagnosis of water-borne diseases and reporting forms for case management and surveillance control in affected areas were provided. WHO provided training for 30 laboratory staff and 120 health care providers on essential diagnostics, management and prevention of epidemic outbreaks.

Outcome of prompt assistance from SEARHEF
Prompt provision of public health services such as disease surveillance, procurement of appropriate medicines and supplies supported the proper management of water-borne diseases. This support also contributed to better preparedness of health facilities for similar future events