Go to contents

Heavy Snow Halts Food Aid Efforts

Posted December. 24, 2005 03:00,   


“I am worried that the elderly might starve to death because of the snow,” said 64-year-old Kim Jung-kang, the president of a women’s volunteer group in Jeolla Province. She was worried that she wouldn’t be able to deliver ready-made lunches to eight senior citizens due to the recent heavy snows.

Kim had to turn back from a delivery run Wednesday because of 40 centimeters of snow.

“I always deliver lunch twice a week to 10 elderly people, but I haven’t been able to deliver lunch for three days. I called up the town head to look after them,” she said.

More people are suffering due to the continuing heavy snow. Elderly people living alone are having food difficulties, and day laborers are having trouble finding any work. Street vendors are also unable to do business.

A welfare facility in Gwangju that usually delivers lunch to 80 senior citizens and disabled people could only reach 40 people Thursday because of frozen roads.

The Gwangju Youth Volunteer Center had to cancel their plans to deliver 4000 charcoal briquettes to 20 households on Saturday.

“We wanted to deliver 30,000 briquettes to 100 households with help from the citizens of Gwangju, but we had to stop after delivering 6,000,” said a person from the center.

Health centers that cater to low-income people are seeing fewer visitors.

Usually around 30 people visit the Centralized Health Subcenter in South Jeolla Province, but only two people visited on Thursday.

The heavy snow is not good news for family heads and economically disadvantaged youths because they have to eat lunch at home when schools temporarily close.

In Naju City, South Jeolla Province, 33 out of 50 total schools closed temporarily for two days starting Thursday, and 1,000 children who receive lunch assistance did not eat lunch at school.

On holidays and during vacation, welfare centers and local district offices give out lunch, but they don’t during temporary vacations.

“We failed to come up with measures for these children because schools closing due to heavy snow was uncommon. Starting next year, we will cooperate with local governmental agencies to make sure that no child skips lunch, even during temporary school closings,” said a Naju City education official.

Seung-Ho Jung shjung@donga.com