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Korean NGOs Work at Tragic Scenes

Posted January. 02, 2005 22:38,   


Civil groups and religious organizations were busier than anyone else on the first day of 2005, doing rescue work for the disaster-hit areas in Southeast and Southwest Asia.

The Korea International Foundation for Health And Development (KIFHAD), together with the Korea Medical Assistance Group for Overseas Disasters sent a total of 20 personnel, including five medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and administration staff, to assist medical treatment and disinfection work.

In particular, KIFHAD and the National Medical Center are giving aid to people in the Jaffna area of northern Sri Lanka, to which no other relief organization had access, thanks to special planes and transport planes provided by the Sri Lankan air force.

Choi Hyun-ju (36), a manager of KIFHAD, said that she did not recognize that New Year’s had came, and that she could not think of anything else, concentrating on whether relief assistance is getting to the right place at the right time.

Good People, a relief organization, dispatched a total of 18 volunteers to Sri Lanka on December 28 and 30 last year, and is providing medical services and relief supplies, including clothes and medicines, in Matara, Sri Lanka.

Cho Woo-soon (44), an executive of the organization, said that he felt happy helping international neighbors in need, even though he skipped meals, not to mention the New Year’s traditional meal.

Korea Food for the Hungry International is doing medical relief work in a refugee village in Banda Ache, Indonesia, where some 3,000 are concentrated.

Good Neighbors decided to send Pri Yanga (31), a Sri Lankan living in Korea with his Korean husband (33), with the 10-member second batch of medical personnel scheduled to leave Korea on January 4.

The Korean Federation of Small and Medium Business announced on December 2 that it would offer a special bonus for Southeast Asian workers hit by tsunamis.

The Federation decided to pay up to three million won per person in a special bonus for Southeast Asian employees or industrial trainees in Korea whose families were affected by the disasters.

It is also planning to offer administrational assistance to help the trainees or employees go to their mother countries, by cooperating with the industrial training companies that they belong to.

The retail sector is also participating in the effort to help South Asian people afflicted by huge damage from the tsunamis.

Lotte Department Store will hold a bazaar with the Korean Committee for UNICEF from January 3 to January 9 in 12 stores in the Seoul Metropolitan area to help child victims of the Southeast Asia tsunamis. The department store is planning to sell men’s and women’s wear, general merchandise, household appliances, and groceries at 20 to 80 percent reduced prices.

Hyundai Department Store will hold a joint bazaar from January 3 to 6 with the Korean National Red Cross in seven stores in the Seoul Metropolitan area, where it will sell some 7,000 articles of clothing at 50 to 80 percent off regular prices. The department store is planning to raise 50 million won in the bazaar and send it to Southeast Asia via the Korean National Red Cross.

The Ilsan store of the Grand Department Store chain will also have a bazaar from January 7 to 10 where some 50 brands of apparel, general merchandise, and grocery will be on sale. The store will donate the total amount of money it raises to people in the disaster-hit areas.

KT announced it would offer free international calls to foreign workers in Korea from countries hit by tsunami through the month of January.

Yi-Young Cho lycho@donga.com bonhong@donga.com