“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. …Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” —Matthew 25:35-36, 40
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is renewing its urgent call for assistance to flooding victims in North Korea.
In early September Typhoon Lionrock slammed into the northeast region of Hamgyong province, one of the poorest regions in the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. The torrential rains set off massive flooding.
According to the New York Times, over 130 people were killed while hundreds more went missing. More than 35,000 homes were damaged, along with thousands of other buildings and nearly 40,000 acres of arable land. In total, more than 600,000 people have been impacted.
Fears of widespread hunger, especially due to the loss of crops from the floods, and a lack of shelter are increasing as winter approaches.
The heightened political and military tensions between North and South Korea, including each’s allies, has made raising funds for assistance challenging. The Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in North Korea launched an appeal for $28.2 million to help victims of the worst flooding in more than half a century.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have also launched their own multi-million-dollar appeals, but more is needed.
During a solidarity visit with Christians in Pyongyang in mid-September, a WCRC delegation heard about the devastation and the need for help. The group, led by WCRC President Jerry Pillay and General Secretary Chris Ferguson, donated money for relief efforts through the Korean Christian Federation.
“While worshipping in Bongsoo Church and also in Chilgol Church during our visit, we were able to hear our sisters and brothers in Christ and their prayers of petition for assistance for those who have suffered from this natural disaster,” said Ferguson. “We ask that members of the Communion join us not only in prayer for the victims but also in donating money for relief and recovery work.”
Besides delivering some preliminary aid, the WCRC has supported the National Council of Churches of [South] Korea (NCCK) with their urgent appeal for more help. Money for flood relief and recovery may be donated through the WCRC’s Reformed Partnership Fund.