Monday, August 20, 2007

Many nations offer flood relief to North Korea

The international community has pledged relief aid for North Koreans. According to the United Nations, more than 14 nations -- including South Korea, the United States, Japan, China, Russia, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Ireland -- pledged as of Saturday to offer flood relief to North Korea.

Singapore is also taking part in the aid drive, pledging $50,000 in humanitarian assistance, along with the country's Red Cross Society offering another $19,000, its Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

German Agro Action, a Germany-based aid organization, said it would give about $335,000 worth of emergency supplies and the German government pitched in another 150,000 euros ($202,000) of funds for the flood victims.

The International Red Cross reportedly has already shipped kitchen sets, blankets, and water purification tablets to about 80 percent of the 16,000 hardest-hit families last Friday.

The U.N.'s World Food Program is set to assist about 320,000 flood victims with emergency food supplies -- 4,000 tons of flour, beans, vegetable oil and sugar.

Medical relief is also expected to come from the Spiritual Awakening Mission, a medical relief organization, and relief agency World Vision plans to send $200,000 worth of medicine and other necessities sometime today.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said an average of 524 millimeters of rain poured onto nation, the most amount of precipitation in the past 40 years.

North Korean state media said that the rainstorms washed away about 144,000 tons of coal, flooded about 200 mines and 30 coal storage sites and another 300 mines collapsed. The downpours and landslides cut off 63,900 meters of rail and roads used to transport coal and 13 rail substations were submerged. Another 1,160 communication and electric poles were destroyed, the KCNA said.

About 11 percent of the already-impoverished country's grain harvest -- equivalent to 450,000 tons -- was also lost, North Korean officials added.

[Excerpt of an article by Cho Ji-hyun, Korea Herald]

No comments: