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Handling Covid-19 in North Korea, International Red Cross Sends Thousands of Aid

The International Red Cross is sending more than 43,000 volunteers to North Korea, to help fight the new coronavirus and provide flood relief.

According to Asia One, Tuesday (11/8/2020), North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared a state of emergency and imposed a lockdown in Kaesong, near the inter-Korean border, after a man who defected to the South in 2017 returned to the city and showing symptoms of the corona virus.

Heavy rains and floods in recent days have also sparked concerns about damage to crops and food supplies in North Korea.

“Volunteers are helping residents in nine provinces to avoid the virus and protect themselves from floods and landslides,” said International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) spokesman Antony Balmain.

“Hundreds of houses were damaged and most of the rice fields were submerged due to heavy rains and flash floods,” continued Balmain.

In Kaesong, IFRC volunteers provided assistance to 2,100 families most at risk consisting of tarps, kitchen utensils, blankets, hygiene kits and water containers.

“Families are supported with psychological first aid and awareness activities to maintain cleanliness and stay healthy,” added Balmain.

A volunteer for the Kenyan Red Cross provides education about washing hands in Nairobi. Photo for illustration. [Georgina Smith / Al Jazeera]

Kim has also sent a special aid package to Kaesong, and state media reported on Monday that grain supplies from Pyongyang had arrived in other flood-hit areas.

North Korea has not confirmed any cases of the coronavirus but has already imposed strict quarantine measures in several regions.

Kim Jong Un ordered a lockdown in Kaesong City at the end of July after they claimed they “missed” the entry of one of the defectors who were suspected of carrying the virus.

In addition to the lockdown, he also ordered an investigation into this ‘miss’. Kim Jong Un asked the military unit responsible for the incident to immediately carry out the harsh sentence.

But on the other hand, the South Korean side said there was no evidence that the returning defector was infected with the Covid-19 virus.

The IFRC provided North Korea with a specially designed device to run up to 10,000 coronavirus tests last month.

In addition, assistance was provided in the form of an infrared thermometer, surgical masks, protective clothing and other protective equipment.

In South Korea, at least 32 people have died after 49 days of monsoon rains, which are the country’s longest rains since 1987.

The seasonal rains also caused flooding, landslides, and the local government had to evacuate its citizens to a safer place.

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