07/27/2011, 00.00
KOREA
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Caritas Korea sending tonnes of flour to starving Northerners

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
Food shipments are acceptable to the South Korean government following northern attacks against South Korean posts. Flour will go directly to residents who have nothing to eat.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – The situation in North Korea “is worsening by the day. We know we should not help the regime, but as Catholics and human beings, we cannot stand by and see our brothers on the other side of the border die of hunger. This is why we have decided to send 100 tonnes of flour, which we are handing out directly to the people,” a Catholic source in South Korea told AsiaNews to explain a recent decision to ship food to the North.

After Pyongyang renewed its nuclear tests and attacked two South Korean posts, South Korea stopped all assistance to North Korea. However, at the start of the summer, the situation deteriorated so much that the South Korean president authorised five NGOs to deliver food aid to the North. Caritas was one of them and decided to send flour.

Chaired by Fr Francis Xavier Ahn Myeong-ok, Caritas Korea International raised funds to buy the flour during the 'Mass for Peace on the Korean Peninsula' held on 17 June at Imjingak. The aid was later delivered overland directly to residents in Northern Hwanghe province.

Fr Simeon Lee Jong-keon, executive director of Caritas Korea, visited North Korea in June. He found “a terrible situation. Visiting hospitals, I realised they have nothing anymore.”

The aforementioned source told AsiaNews that “not even soldiers have food to eat. This is the final step towards the end of the regime, but so many people will be victims.”
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