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Stamford, Conn. – August 30, 2012 – AmeriCares is airlifting an emergency shipment of medicines to North Korea this week to aid survivors of recent flooding. The delivery includes enough antibiotics, hospital supplies and wound care products to treat up to 15,000 survivors. Flooding and landslides from typhoons in June and July damaged 69 health facilities, leaving 700,000 North Koreans without access to health care. The AmeriCares aid will help fill an urgent need for medicines and supplies to treat the wounded and combat increased infection and disease in temporary shelters and crowded dwellings. The shipment may also be used in response to typhoons Bolaven and Tembim, which brought more catastrophic flooding and landslides this week, exacerbating an already desperate situation.
AmeriCares aid to North Korea is coordinated through the Permanent Mission of North Korea to the United Nations, to our humanitarian partner, the Korea-America Private Exchange Society (KAPES). KAPES staff on the ground will distribute disaster relief items to an estimated 50,000 people across four provinces. The two organizations work together to support six hospitals and clinics in the Pyongyang, North Hwanghae and South Pyongyang regions with medicines and supplies. AmeriCares also recently delivered a shipment of nutritional supplements for children in North Korea. AmeriCares relief workers will visit the country in September to assess the situation and the organization is prepared to send additional aid as needed.
“The devastating floods compound an already dire situation in North Korea, where two out of every three people suffer from hunger,” said Garrett Ingoglia, AmeriCares director of emergency response. “The North Korean people critically need assistance to recover from this disaster.”
AmeriCares has been providing humanitarian support to North Korean hospitals and patients since 1997, when it delivered $20 million in aid – marking the first civilian airlift from the United States since before the Korean War. The organization also responded to severe flooding in North Korea in 2007 and 2011 with critical medicines and relief supplies. Last year, AmeriCares provided more than $7 million in aid to North Korea, including medicines and nutritional supplements.