Red Cross to supervise aid delivery

From the Joong Ang Daily:

Four South Korean Red Cross officials are expected to visit North Korea’s Nampo port this week to supervise the delivery of the first government aid package to help the North recover from recent flooding, an official at the Unification Ministry said yesterday.

The Red Cross officials will depart from the port of Incheon at 11 a.m. Wednesday aboard the 3,000-ton ship Trade Fortune, which sails regularly between the Koreas, according to the official.

The shipment includes 300 tons of rice, 20,000 blankets and 10,000 first aid kits, according to the official.

Seoul suspended shipments of its regular humanitarian assistance to the North shortly after Pyongyang launched seven ballistic missiles in early July, including a long-range Taepodong-2, which is believed capable of reaching the U.S. west coast.

The South Korean government says it will not make additional commitments of any economic assistance to the communist state until the North returns to stalled international negotiations with the South, Japan, China, Russia and the United States over its nuclear program.

The government, however, pledged to give 241 billion won ($251 million) worth of aid through the country’s Red Cross as one-time humanitarian assistance to the North after heavy rains there last month reportedly left hundreds of people killed or missing and thousands of others injured.

Pyongyang rejected an initial aid offer from the South Korean Red Cross last month, but its inter-Korean pro-unification organization later asked Seoul’s civic organizations and other “related offices” for rice and construction equipment, while expressing gratitude for the civic groups’ efforts to help the country recover from devastating torrential rains and flooding.

The Unification Ministry has also agreed to provide funds matching amounts raised by each civic organization, expected to total some 10 billion won.

The government’s aid through the Red Cross will include 100,000 tons of rice, 100,000 tons of iron rods, 80,000 blankets and over 200 construction vehicles.


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