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Red Cross launches emergency appeal for DPRK flood survivors
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07:55, August 21, 2007

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Monday appealed for about 5.5 million U.S. dollars to help 3.7 million flood survivors in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

One of the main objectives of the appeal is to provide basic emergency medicines in the two worst-affected provinces, South Hamgyong and South Phyongan, and in the city of Kaesong, following serious damage to the health infrastructure, the Geneva-based relief agency said in a statement.

"We have at least 89,000 people left completely homeless after this disaster and we are working hard to respond to their needs," said Jaap Timmer, head of the Federation's delegation in the DPRK.

"But with clinics and hospitals put out of action and drug supplies ruined, the number of people whose lives have been impacted is far wider, and they need the international community's help," he added.

Over the past two weeks, the heaviest rains in 40 years have hit five provinces in DPRK, wiping out homes, roads, crops, water supplies and bridges, and completely or partially destroying 30 to 40 percent of health facilities and supplies, the federation said.

"The situation is worsening as people are falling sick due to the poor hygiene conditions," said Timmer. "A lot of people with watery diarrhoea are being treated daily, and it's because of the contaminated water they are using."

There are also reports of an increase in acute respiratory infections, particularly in children, while dehydration and skin and eye infections are also of concern.

According to latest available statistics, the floods have killed at least 221 people. Almost 60,000 homes and public buildings have been partially or completely destroyed.

Source: Xinhua



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