ROK civic group sends some aid to the DPRK

From the Joong Ang Daily:

First flood aid leaves for North
August 04, 2006

South Korea’s first aid package to help North Korean flood victims left Incheon yesterday, a Seoul-based international relief organization said. The eight containers full of goods include 100 tons of flour, 37,500 packs of instant noodles and 2,660 candles.

The Join Together Society, a relief agency founded by the Buddhist civic group Jungto Society, plans to send three more shipments to North Korea. Yesterday’s package, worth 120 million won ($124,262), will arrive in the North’s Nampo Harbor today, the aid group said. The aid packages will be given to flood victims of South Pyongan province, where the damage was reportedly severe.

The second shipment will include $50,000 worth of medicine and other goods including blankets and dishes, the group said. The goods will be purchased in China and sent to the North by trucks. The third and fourth shipments will be food aid, to be shipped from Incheon to Nampo.

More non-governmental groups said yesterday they will initiate fundraising drives to support flood victims in both South and North Koreas. The South Korean Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration, an alliance of civic, social, religious and political groups, said its members will provide contributions from today till Tuesday to raise $100,000. The fundraising drive will expand to the public by the end of next month, and the money will be spent to help flood victims of both Koreas, the committee said.

A relief agency for North Korea under the National Unification Advisory Council also announced its plan to provide aid packages to support flood victims in the North. The organization said 50 million won worth of goods, including 300 hand carts, will depart Incheon on Wednesday for Nampo. Additional goods, including medicine, will be provided, and the group planned site surveys in North Korea at the end of this month to see if the victims need further assistance, the group said.

The United Nations and the Red Cross were conservative about the North’s suffering after the July floods. The United Nations estimated at least 154 North Korean deaths and 127 missing, while the Red Cross said 141 were killed and another 112 were missing. A South Korean civic group said earlier this week that up to 10,000 were missing or dead.

Meanwhile, international media reported yesterday that the North has refused aid offers from the World Food Program and Red Cross.

From the Korea Herald:
August 2, 2006

A South Korean civic group announced yesterday that it will send 130 million won ($138,000) worth of flood relief to North Korea tomorrow.

This is the first time that humanitarian aid is being sent to the North after it suffered heavy damage from the latest torrential downpours, the group said.

The Join Together Society said it shipped 100 tons of flour, 38,000 packs of instant noodles and living necessities such as clothes, shoes and candles.

JTS is a relief and development organization founded in 1994, and headed by well-known Buddhist monk Ven. Pomnyun.

The ship will leave Incheon tomorrow and will reach the North’s western port of Nampo tomorrow at the earliest, said the Seoul-based civic group.

The move came after the South Korean government stopped aid packages as the North test-fired seven missiles into the East Sea last month. However, civic groups here have urged Seoul to revive its humanitarian aid as food shortage problems in the North got worse in the aftermath of the massive downfall.

JTS said that the flood relief will be sent to an organization that helps North Koreans residing overseas. The goods will be used to relieve flood victims in the Yangduk county of Pyeongan Province, northwest of Pyeongyang, it added.

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