Flooding in North Korea: Switzerland makes funds available for reconstruction and restoration of water supply

Article, 22.08.2012

The flooding in North Korea caused by torrential rainfall in July and August has claimed more than 160 lives and caused extensive damage. Around 210,000 people are homeless and tens of thousands are in need of clean drinking water. In response, Switzerland has made CHF 200,000 available for emergency relief measures. Swiss Humanitarian Aid will use these funds to reconstruct houses and to restore the supply of drinking water in the affected areas.

According to information from the North Korean government, the floodwater submerged 65,000 hectares of farmland, destroyed 8,500 homes and caused damage to more than 1,400 schools, hospitals and factories. The floods have so far claimed 169 lives, with around 400 people still unaccounted for.

Visit to affected areas
Together with representatives of the government, the United Nations and other international organisations, the director of the North Korea programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Pyongyang visited the flood area on 31 July and 8 August. Thanks to these initial visits to the provinces of North and South Phyongan, it was possible to define the emergency assistance operations required.

The CHF 200,000 will be used to implement the following measures:

  • Reconstruction of around 100 houses, including the rebuilding of household and kitchen gardens in the heavily affected county of Kuyang in Phyongan province.
  • Rehabilitation of pumping stations in the city of Anyu, which provide around 75,000 people with drinking water.

A purely humanitarian programme
The SDC's activity in North Korea began in 1995 when it provided humanitarian aid for the population affected by the severe food shortages of the 1990s. In 1997, the SDC opened an office in Pyongyang which was increasingly involved with development projects. Since the beginning of 2012, the SDC has been carrying out a purely humanitarian programme. The aims are to improve food and income security, to ensure water supplies and wastewater treatment, and to foster protection of the environment.

Additional information

  • North Korea
    The SDC is supporting North Korea in its efforts to exploit sloping lands for agricultural purposes ...