The Red Cross is struggling to raise needed funds to aid flood-affected regions of North Korea after a disappointing response from the international community to its emergency appeal, a spokesman said on Saturday.
Red Cross has only raised 25 percent of the $15.38 million it sought in an emergency appeal aimed at helping more than 330,000 people needing humanitarian assistance over the next 12 months, and with winter fast approaching.
Donors’ political concerns about the North Korean government have hampered efforts to raise funds, Patrick Fuller, communications manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said, even though the money donated to the Red Cross is spent by the organization, without passing through the government. International donors need to “put politics aside and recognize this is a humanitarian tragedy for thousands of people,” said Fuller.
North Korean government-led reconstruction efforts have moved at an incredibly fast pace, the IFRC said, with cement factories working overtime and a constant stream of building materials reaching the affected areas by train and ship.
“Credit has to go to the government for what they’ve achieved,” Fuller said. “They will have achieved in three months probably what most other countries achieve in three years after a major disaster.”