IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

South Korea sending flood aid to North

South Korea will contribute $10.5 million for civilian efforts to send relief supplies to flood-hit North Korea, an official said Friday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

South Korea will contribute 10 billion won (US $10.5 million) for civilian efforts to send relief supplies to flood-hit North Korea, an official said Friday.

The contribution is part of an aid package that Seoul plans to give to the North, reversing an earlier decision to suspend aid in protest against the North's missile launches last month.

Besides the contribution, the South also plans to ship official aid supplies to the North via the Red Cross.

Earlier this week, North Korea asked for help from the South to recover from devastating floods that left at least 549 people dead and 295 missing. The North had previously refused South Korean aid from the Red Cross, saying it would take care of the problem itself.

The North asked Seoul to provide food, blankets and medical supplies, along with construction materials and equipment including cement and trucks to help recover from the disaster, Park Ji-yong, an official of a South Korean committee working for reconciliation between the Koreas.

"We expressed thanks for various (South Korean) groups' efforts," the North said in a fax message to the South Korean committee.

Pyongyang initially said it would go it alone
North Korea had initially said it would handle the disaster on its own, but a North Korean official said last week the country was in urgent need of food and would accept aid from South Korea.

South Korea has said recently it would consider contributing to private groups' aid missions for North Korean flood victims amid growing calls at home for aid to the South's impoverished neighbor. Seoul had refused last month to discuss regular humanitarian aid during high-level talks with North Korea, after the North Koreans refused to address the country's missile or nuclear programs.

The North test-launched seven missiles last month, raising regional tension and drawing U.N. Security Council sanctions.

A South Korean private relief group sent flood relief aid to the North last week.

The North has told international aid groups operating in the country that it doesn't want them to launch an emergency appeal on its behalf. Such aid would likely come with requirements of strict monitoring to insure those affected are benefiting, unlike with past South Korean aid that is virtually unmonitored.

The North last year demanded a halt to international food aid it had been receiving since the mid-1990s, when natural disasters and mismanagement led to famine that killed an estimated 2 million people. Pyongyang claimed it didn't want to develop a culture of dependency, but nonetheless still accepted aid from China and South Korea.