YEAR 2001 EMERGENCY APPEAL FOR THE ONGOING
FOOD AND HEALTH CARE CRISIS IN THE DEMOCRATIC
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (DPRK)
THIS APPEAL SEEKS US$ 3,260,000 IN CASH SUPPORT TO ASSIST IN THE
SECTORS OF FOOD AID, HEALTH CARE, FOOD SECURITY/AGRICULTURE,
AND CAPACITY BUIDLING AND TRAINING
The previous Caritas appeal was launched in March 2000. Since then, political
developments on the Korean peninsula have been extraordinary, starting with the
historic Summit Meeting between the leaders of Democratic People's Republic of
Korea and Republic of Korea in June 2000. The dialogue between the two Koreas,
North Korea's new relationship with the international community, the travels of Kim
Jong Il, the direct North-South contacts at ministerial levels, the exchange of mail
between 600 families separated for more than 50 years, and/or the agreement to
reopen the rail link and build a highway across the demilitarized zone, are all signs
of progress, giving cause for hope for the divided peninsula.
The situation inside the DPRK has so far, however, not changed fundamentally
and it will take some time until the North Korean leadership has found a formula by
means of which the indigenous Juche (self-reliance) ideology and a policy of
economic openness can coexist. Some positive developments in terms of the
operational environment for humanitarian aid agencies can, however, be noted.
Since the early 1990's, the people of the DPRK have been struggling to overcome
economic difficulties caused by the loss of trading partners in the former socialist
countries of Eastern Europe and, compounded from 1994 on, by a series of natural
disasters. Lack of government resources to maintain or renew infrastructure systems
such as roads, bridges, rail roads, irrigation facilities, factories and mines means that
many sectors are by now almost in disrepair. The economy continues to stagnate.
According to figures produces jointly by the government and UNDP, GDP declined
by about 50 percent between 1993 and 1996 - representing a per capita income
drop to $481. Food shortages and the breakdown in health, water and
sanitation services are threatening the lives of millions of people, particularly
the most vulnerable - children, pregnant women and the elderly.
Thus, the hardship and suffering of the ordinary North Korean continue. And, at
times Caritas-Hong Kong is concerned that due to encouraging developments in the
political sphere, there is a perception that the crisis in the country is over. This is not
the case and humanitarian needs remain compelling.
2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Implementing Agency: Caritas-Hong Kong
2, Caine Road
Date of Submission of Proposal: 12 April 2001
Duration of Appeal: 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002
Contact Person: Kathi Zellweger, Director International Cooperation
Telephone No.: (852) 2522 9211 or (852) 2524 2071 ext. 211
Fax No.: (852) 2523 0438
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bank Account: Caritas-Hong Kong's US$ A/C No.616-101094-106
Fortis Bank Asia HK
27/F, Fortis Bank Tower
77-79 Gloucester Road
Remark: North Korea
Country: Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea)
Population: Official population est. as at the end of August 1999: 22.554 million
Provinces: 9 (North Pyongan, South Pyongan, North Hwanghae, South Hwanghae,
Kangwon, South Hamgyong, North Hamgyong, Ryanggang, Chagang)
Municipalities: 3 (Pyongyang, Nampo, Kaesong)
Counties: 211 with 167 accessible to UN Agencies and NGOs
Priority project locations: Provinces along the east coast and in the northeast
- Kangwon (Population 1.38 million)
- South Hamgyong (Population 2.88 million)
- North Hamgyong (Population 2.18 million)
- Ryanggang (Population 0.67 million)
Population segments affected: Widespread poverty and food insecurity persist
among the general population
Proposed Interventions, by sector:
- Food aid
- Health care
- Social welfare
- Other humanitarian needs
- Agriculture/food security/forestry
- Capacity building and training
3. 2000/2001 FOOD SECURITY SITUATION
Food shortages will continue to have a major effect on the future economic, social
and health status of the North Korean people. One reason is that the climate in the
DPRK allows only for a single food-producing season (June-October). Erratic
weather patterns (a prolonged drought and typhoons) coupled with the lack of
agricultural inputs (fertilizers, plastic sheeting, fuel, machinery) are the main reasons
for the latest food shortfall. In the year 2000/2001 (November/October) the country
will need to import 1.865 million mts of cereals to cover the deficit between the
country's total cereal availability and the needs (estimated to be 4.79 million mts).
Donor response in terms of cereals has been generous, with the Republic of Korea
providing 200,000 mts of rice and 300,000 mts of corn and the Government of Japan
giving 500,000 mts of rice. The diet of the people remains, however, very
unbalanced with a large shortfall of pulses and oil.
Present food distributions through the Public Distribution System are at a rate of
approx. 200 grams (some 700 kcal) per person and day until May.
The shortage of food affects those who are least able to cope and who are most in
need of food - children, mothers and the elderly. WFP and NGOs are targeting the
most vulnerable and food insecure, assisting 7.6 million people, of whom almost 70
percent are children and 56 percent are female. The majority of the adults, approx.
15 million people or 2/3 of the population, are left to fend for themselves. The
nutritional situation remains fragile with a vicious circle of poor nutrition and
compounding poor health becoming deeply entrenched.
4. CARITAS RESPONSE IN 2000/01 (MARCH/APRIL)
The appeal SOA 19/00 sought cash donations of US$3,612,000. By 31 March 2001
only 71.4 percent of the target has either been received or pledged. This includes
cash donations of US$2,343,200 and a donation in-kind (drugs and medical
supplies) of US$235,000. With donations received and balance funds carried
forward (US$223,200), so far the following contributions were made:
- Nutrition/food aid (mostly oil and pulses) US$ 1,143,600 (42.6%)
- Agriculture/food security/forestry US$ 650,300 (24.3%)
- Health US$ 585,700 (21.9%)
- Other basic needs (clothing, eating utensils, toys etc.) US$ 111,000 ( 4.1%)
- FALU contribution US$ 50,000 ( 1.9%)
- Contribution towards operational costs US$ 140,000 ( 5.2%)
(Figures are rounded to nearest hundred.)
Nineteen shipments were organized (Appendix I). Food shipments decreased from
71.3 percent for SOA 01/99 to 42.6 percent for SOA 19/00.
Donors will receive a final report and audited accounts towards the end of 2001 for
the appeal SOA 19/00. It is noteworthy that in addition to all domestic transport
costs, the DPRK partners provided free shipping transport for aid from ports in Asia
to the DPRK for Caritas. Only insurance and some port charges had to be covered
by Caritas. This was again a very significant contribution by the DPRK government
towards the Caritas program.
4.1 Progress made
Caritas-Hong Kong continues to enjoy positive and cooperative working
relationships with the DPRK authorities, UN agencies and other NGOs. During the
appeal period not only purely humanitarian interventions were approved. The
project-oriented approach, with a focus on more longer-term rehabilitation and
development projects, made the overall operation more complex with more time
needed for planning and implementation. This gradual shift is, however, a positive
sign and a step forward.
5. INTENDED ACTIVITIES IN 2001/02
Activities planned for the above year are similar to those funded in 2000/01 (SOA
19/00). The Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee (FDRC), the relevant
ministries and the UN agencies requested Caritas to continue with these activities
(Appendix II). Needs are far from covered and moreover, with a gradual shift from
relief to rehabilitation and development, the learning process can continue. The
geographical area of Caritas remains focused on the east coast, but a certain
amount of flexibility, also in terms of inputs required, is needed in order to have an
overall coordinated approach. The situation in the DPRK, but also regarding donor
response to the UN, is not static. Most proposals in the new appeal can be
expanded or reduced, depending on the availability of funding with detailed planning
only possible once the size of donations is clear.
5.1 Food Aid
5.1.2 Oil and/or pulses for children in nurseries and kindergartens
A balanced diet is important for healthy growth. Food aid seems to be heavy
on cereals with limited oil and pulses available. While the Canadian
Foodgrains Bank will provide pulses, Caritas will focus mostly on oil.
Kangwon, South Hamgyong, North Hamgyong and Ryanggang list 570,000
children in nurseries, kindergartens and residential child care institutions.
5.1.2 Special food aid for children in residential care for 1 year
Children in baby homes, orphanages and boarding schools are among the
most deprived as they also lack parental love and care. Sugar and oil are very
scarce commodities for these children and supply is irregular, if at all.
5.1.3 Support for special food needs
At times special needs cases require speedy action and special attention or
local production of food (i.e. rice-milk-blend, high-energy biscuits) is
hampered by the lack of certain commodities.
5.2 Health care
5.2.1 Provision of drugs and medical supplies to health care facilities
County and ri (village) hospitals/clinics will be provided with drugs and supply
kits designed by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO, covering
needs for a six to nine months' period. A "Drugs Manual' prepared in Korean
will assure proper application of inputs provided.
5.2.2 Provision of basic medical equipment for ri hospitals/clinics
In order to improve the service delivery, basic medical equipment kits are
needed for the provision of health services at village level. A list of
appropriate items, prepared by WHO/UNICEF/Ministry of Health is available
5.2.3 Safe motherhood - equipment for county and ri hospital delivery rooms
Many county and ri hospital delivery rooms are not adequately equipped. It
seems, however, that complications at birth or during pregnancy are
increasing and basic equipment kits for health care facilities will help to
improve the services for pregnant women and mothers.
5.2.4 Provision of soap, blankets, bed sheets, operation gowns and other
urgently needed items
These will help to improve service delivery and hygiene levels at county and
5.2.5 Provide inputs for immunization programs for children and mothers
Immunization programs have not received essential funding support and
UNICEF is requesting Caritas support.
5.3 Agriculture/food security
5.3.1 Support for plastic sheeting for agricultural purposes
Due to the short agricultural season, farmers depend on the availability of
plastic sheets for seed propagation and vegetable cultivation. Sheets are
usually used several times during a year, washed afterwards and stored
during winter, and reused again for 2 or 3 more years. Depending on market
prices of raw materials, local production will be taken into consideration.
5.3.2 Inputs to cooperative farms
In order to increase yields, individual cooperative farms are requesting a
variety of inputs such as fertilizers, plastic sheeting, pesticides and safety
equipment, tractor tires, and trucks.
5.3.3 Cultivation and processing of sweet potato
This project started in 1999 in one cooperative farm and is now moving into
the second phase with the main focus on processing sweet potato starch.
5.3.4 Rehabilitation of a vegetable farm
Vegetables are an important part of the Korean diet, especially preserved
cabbage (Kimchi). A vegetable farm complex on the outskirts of Wonsan city
is to produce vegetables mainly for nurseries, kindergartens, schools and
hospitals in Wonsan, Kangwon province. The farm, especially the large
greenhouse complex, needs to be rehabilitated.
5.4.1 Rehabilitation of tree nurseries
In many parts of the country, forests have been turned into farmland and the
lack of energy has increased the need for fuelwood and timber. At the same
time, many tree nurseries damaged by natural disasters have not been
rehabilitated. Essential inputs to do so, as well as training opportunities for
local forestry workers and assistance from international consultants with
implementation, assessment and planning measures need to be provided.
5.5 Social welfare
5.5.1 Support for the Korean Association Supporting the Disabled
Caritas-Hong Kong has been in touch with this newly-established
organization for quite some time and hopes to assist in capacity building
measures by supporting a resource center/library, arranging study or
exposure tours (for example to China) and overseas conference participation.
5.6 Other humanitarian needs
5.6.1 Local production of winter clothing for farmers
This project will be implemented in collaboration with a factory in Pyongyang
and the Korean Catholic Association.
5.6.2 Clothing, shoes, toys, eating utensils for children in institutional care
Children in these institutions are deprived, lack parental love and care as well
as basic necessities, which the government no longer provides.
5.7 Capacity building and training
Study tours, scholarships, the provision of books, technical assistance
including monitoring, impact and needs assessments will be organized if
required and appropriate.
Priorities remain in the field of humanitarian assistance although the DPRK
government, UN agencies and NGOs are gradually shifting from relief to
rehabilitation and development. The goals for the next year are
♦ Saving lives and reducing human suffering
♦ Maintaining and improving nutritional status of vulnerable groups
♦ Strengthening healthcare services
♦ Supporting agricultural production and diversification
♦ Stimulating local economies
♦ Fostering sustainable interventions
♦ Enhancing local capacity
7. MAIN OBECTIVES
♦ To improve the food situation by targeting approx. 570,000 children, mostly
below the age of six, in selected geographical areas
♦ To strengthen health service facilities by providing drugs, medical supplies and
basic equipment for in- and outpatients at county and ri (village) hospitals/clinics
♦ To contribute to a reduction in maternal and child mortality through preventive
and curative measures
♦ To improve, increase and diversify agricultural production and thus reduce food
♦ To assist with the rehabilitation of a tree nursery by providing inputs and training
opportunities and thus reduce further deforestation
♦ To support local capacity building by providing scholarships, study tours, books
and other training opportunities
8. BUDGET FOR SOA 23/2001
8.1.1 Oil for 570,000 nurseries and kindergartens children
(6 months x 30gr/day = 3,000 mt xUS$400) US$1,200,000
8.1.2 Sugar/oil for 3,500 children in residential care US$ 60,000
8.1.3 Food for special interventions US$ 50,000
8.2.1 Drugs kits for ri hospitals/clinics (300 x US$400)
and for county hospitals (50 xUS$2,000) US$ 220,000
8.2.2 Basic equipment kits and bicycles for ri hospitals/clinics
(100 x US$1,200) US$ 120,000
8.2.3 Delivery room kits for ri hospitals (100 xUS$650) and for
county hospitals (10 xUS$10,000) US$ 165,000
8.2.4 Soap, blankets, sheets and other urgent needs for hospitals US$ 50,000
8.2.5 Immunization program US$ 100,000
8.3.1 Plastic sheeting, local production or import
(2,000,000 sqm at US$75 per 1,000sqm) US$ 150,000
8.3.2 Inputs to cooperative farms (5) US$ 400,000
8.3.3 Sweet potato cultivation (2nd phase) US$ 70,000
8.3.4 Assistance for one vegetable farm US$ 90,000
8.4.1 Rehabilitation of one tree nursery US$ 135,000
8.5 Social Welfare
8.5.1 Resource center & study tours for Korean Association
Supporting the Disabled (Lump sum) US$ 60,000
8.6 Other humanitarian needs
8.6.1 Local production and distribution of 3,000 winter jackets for
farmers (collaboration with the Catholic Church) US$ 60,000
8.6.2 Clothing, toys, eating utensils for children US$ 20,000
8.7 Capacity building, i.e. training programs, technical
assistance, books etc (Lump sum) US$ 50,000
8.8 FALU Contribution 2001 US$ 60,000
8.9 Operational costs - 8 percent or a minimum of US$ 180,000
8.10 Contingencies US$ 20,000
TOTAL US$ 3,260,000
Donors are encouraged to designate contributions towards the SOA,
indicating preference sectors. Caritas-Hong Kong, together with the local
partners, will then decide on priorities.
9.1 Operating environment
The 'Statement of Humanitarian Principles - DPRK' of November 1998 (updated in
April 1999 and March 2001), to which Caritas is also a signatory, remains valid. Due
to recent allegations regarding humanitarian programs in the DPRK, a 'Consensus
Statement' has been issued, in March 2001. The text is enclosed (Appendix III).
The implementation of humanitarian and recovery projects remains constrained,
partially by the DPRK's national security considerations. But there are some
improvements in the operating environment. By now, of the 211 counties, 167 are
accessible for regular monitoring visits (between 80 to 85 percent of the population)
and contacts with beneficiaries have increased. Quantitative and qualitative access,
however, will have to improve further. Interactions with different ministries are now
becoming more regular, but there the Caritas working modalities and operating
procedures need renewed explanations and expectations are often beyond the
means, aims and objectives, of Caritas.
9.2 Geographical targeting
North Korea is a highly urbanized country with approximately 60 percent of its
population living in towns and cities. Farmers and their families only account for
some 2.6 million.
Some parts of the country and some parts of the population seem to be more
affected, mostly in the northeast of the country, an area with limited arable land and
large communities living in heavily industrialized cities, towns and counties. As
stated, for quite some years, Caritas has been focussing on the three provinces on
the east coast, namely Kangwon, South Hamgyong and North Hamgyong. This will
remain so also in future. Constructive relationships with provincial and county
officials have been established and should be maintained in order to improve the
working environment. Ryanggang, a remote province, may be included as Caritas
target area, provided funding is made available.
9.3 Procedures, coordination and collaboration
Procedures for planning shipments and allocating donations to identified target
groups will remain in future similar to those already in place. After obtaining
quotations and comparing costs, quality and services, orders are placed (with food
mainly originating from South East Asia). Preparations for project agreements and
distribution plans start at the same time as orders are placed. The DPRK
government has so far agreed to transport substantial donations (above 1,000 mt)
from the region free of charge, on their own vessels, with Caritas only having to
cover insurance and some port charges.
Rehabilitation and development projects are more time-consuming than organizing
the delivery of relief goods. Obtaining specified information about specific topics or
issues is generally difficult and often more detailed planning is only possible once a
certain assurance in terms of financial support is available.
The challenging working environment of the DPRK calls for close collaboration
among all parties, UN agencies and NGOs alike. (There are by now 102
international staff working in the DPRK with 11 resident NGOs/32 international staff.)
Structures are in place to provide for inter-agency coordination and cooperation.
FALU staff attend these meetings on behalf of the members of the consortium and
Caritas-Hong Kong also joins in whenever in-country. Moreover, Caritas has the
possibility to assign experts for monitoring and/or impact/needs assessment
missions whenever this is considered appropriate and essential.
The Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee (FDRC) of the DPRK remains the
main partner for Caritas and acts mainly as a coordinating body. During the past
year access to relevant government bodies (different ministries etc.) has increased,
a positive step towards better understanding.
The Food Aid Liaison Unit (FALU) is funded by a consortium of, presently, four
faith-based NGOs (Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Caritas, World Council of Churches
and World Vision) and is attached to the World Food Program (WFP). At present
one expatriate officer and two national staff members serve at the FALU and provide
excellent service to Caritas, especially with regard to monitoring of food aid and
more recently also of healthcare inputs.
Collaboration with WHO and UNICEF is increasing with more projects in the
healthcare sector. Involvements in agriculture/food security and in forestry are within
the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Environment Protection Program (AREP)
framework with Caritas and UNDP working closely together.
The Korean Catholic Association (KCR), the DPRK's Catholic Church, has --
according to church officials -- some 3,000 members in the whole country, of which
about 800 live in the capital, Pyongyang. The KCR requested that Caritas continue
its support to the country and the collaboration with the church, which is, due to
capacity and other constraints, limited to small-scale projects only.
9.5 Monitoring and follow-up visits
FALU is responsible for monitoring food aid and healthcare inputs and UNDP/AREP
for agricultural projects. Monitoring procedures and practices are by now well-
established. So far no evidence of serious aid diversion has been detected and aid
is largely reaching the identified target groups. There are also no reports of pilfering
of goods. Sharing with the wider community (for example in the case of food for
pregnant and nursing women) or hoarding because of fear of future shortages can at
times be an issue.
Caritas aid is distributed according to plans/projects negotiated with the DPRK
authorities and implemented with the support of the respective organizations and the
relevant UN agency. Monitoring remains important, not only to assure that aid is
reaching, but also to gain insights into the overall situation and the needs at the
provincial, county and village level.
Caritas-Hong Kong will continue visiting the DPRK regularly (about six times a year)
for planning purposes, to follow-up on existing projects, to join FALU or UNDP on
monitoring visits or to accompany funding partners on field missions. The posting of
experts for short-term consultancies provide valuable support for the Caritas-Hong
Kong and continuation is planned.
10. ASSUMPTIONS AND RISKS
Some of the critical factors, which may delay program implementation and the
realization of key projects, are:
♦ Cooperation and continued support from all partners is prerequisite for a
♦ Insufficient availability of funds may hinder shifting from relief to rehabilitation and
development as priority needs remain in the humanitarian aid sector.
♦ Droughts, floods or pests may negatively impact the 2001 harvest and may
prolong or increase the need for emergency food relief.
♦ Lack of reliable data and statistics as well as detailed information may hamper
proper project planning.
♦ Transparency and continued access to operational areas remain crucial.
♦ Political developments and policy shifts within the government may require
modifications of Caritas's plans.
11. DONOR INFORMATION, ACCOUNTING AND REPORTING
Caritas-Hong Kong, the Liaison Agency for the Caritas network, will facilitate visits of
partner agencies to the DPRK, provide required information and updates during the
implementation phase and submit an audited account together with a final report
after completion of the project phase.
Caritas Coreana in South Korea is one of the major donors to the Caritas appeal.
Taking the political and physical separation of the two Koreas into account, close
collaboration between Caritas-Hong Kong and Caritas Coreana and the Catholic
Church in the South has been established and proven to be useful for a better
understanding of the situation on the Korean peninsula.
11.1 5-Year Review of Caritas DPRK Program
The first Caritas food aid shipment reached North Korea in November 1995. Since
that time the aid program has grown to become one of the largest in the Caritas
network, with aid provided valued at over US$23 million. It is for these reasons
therefore that Caritas is planning to hire an independent consultant to conduct a 5-
year review (up to 31 December 2000) of the DPRK program.
12. CLOSING REMARKS
♦ The social, economic and political problems in North Korea are beyond those
which aid agencies can help to solve, but organizations such as Caritas can play
a role and alleviate suffering as well as help to bridge the divide.
♦ The engagement policy will continue, but inter-Korean relations will not be
without setbacks. To overcome 50 years of isolation, mutual distrust, negation,
and military confrontation, is a difficult task -- one in which direction might be
more important than speed. But the long and precarious journey toward peaceful
co-existence and Korean unification has begun.
♦ The North Korean people have, and still are, demonstrating a high level of
resilience and impressive cooping mechanism with regard to social and
economic issues, but widespread poverty and long-term food deprivation cause
lasting and irreparable affects, especially on the young generation.
♦ Caritas aid can make a difference. Humanitarian assistance not only eases
human suffering, it also brings about changes in attitudes and approaches.
Caritas-Hong Kong hopes that despite donor fatigue and an increase in disasters
in the world, the people of North Korea will not be forgotten.
Hong Kong, 12 April 2001/kz
Appendix I : SOA 19/00 - List of projects
Appendix II : Letter received from the FDRC
Appendix III : Consensus Statement March 2001
Appendix IV : Map (see: www.reliefweb.int - Map Center)
2001 DPRK EMERGENCY APPEAL. APRIL 2001