ASIA/NORTH KOREA - Caritas Hong Kong assists victims of major train disaster in North Korea

Friday, 30 April 2004

Hong Kong (Agenzia Fides) -Caritas-Hong Kong has organised a collection of funds to provide medical supplies and other relief goods for the victims and their families to Ryongchon in North Korea where on 22 April 2004, two trains collided at the Ryongchon Station causing 154 dead, including 76 children; five persons missing; and 1,300 injured, of whom 370 are hospitalised in Sinuiju city, near the Chinese border.
On hearing the news, Caritas Hong Kong, which has run an aid programme in North Korea for the last ten years, sent a message of condolence promising immediate relief aid for the bereaved families and the injured. Very quickly, within 8 hours, a message was received from the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee thanking Caritas for the concern and expressing gratefulness and appreciation for the help offered. The NK Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator said no immediate additional medical relief supplies were required, but emergency stocks needed to be replenished. Assistance for rehabilitation efforts was needed also from the humanitarian aid community. Food assistance for about 15,000 people will be provided by World Food Programme.
Caritas has launched a campaign to collect 200,000 US$ to provide on-going aid to affected people in Ryongchon. The estimated population of the country is 123,000 , 27,000 in Ryongchon city alone. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 30/4/2004 lines 25 words 261)