Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Humanitarian aid to flood-hit North Korea

The Join Together Society (JTS), a humanitarian aid group in Seoul, said it will send eight TEUs filled with relief goods, including 100 tons of flour, to the North from Aug. 3-9. TEUs refer to 20-foot equivalent units.

It is the first time that a South Korean civic group to provide aid to the communist state since Seoul stopped all efforts in the wake of the North's recent missile tests and its ongoing boycott of protracted six-way nuclear talks.

"The North's flood damage is believed to be far greater than previously known. The situation is also feared to hark back to that in 1995 and in the following years, when millions of people reportedly died of hunger caused by natural disasters," a JTS official said.

North Korea has been relying on international handouts since the mid-1990s to help feed its 23 million people. South Korea regularly provided food and other humanitarian support to the impoverished North, but it has suspended all of its aid for the communist state in early July after Pyongyang test-fired seven ballistic missiles despite warnings from Seoul not to do so.

[Yonhap News]

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