Seoul (Fides Service) – A chain of solidarity was set up by Caritas Korea as an immediate response to help victims of typhoon Maemi which struck the south and east of the peninsula a few days ago.
Alex Lee, head of the international cooperation office of Caritas Korea explained the situation to Fides Service: “Eight dioceses in the south and east of the country were hit by the typhoon. Diocesan Caritas offices set immediately to collect and coordinate aid and they are doing excellent work. The first thing is to meet emergency needs: so many people are homeless, jobless and hungry.”
“Seoul Archdiocese has already sent 250,000 dollars to share among the eight dioceses, and national Caritas office is co-ordinating efforts to diffuse information and organise aid, send volunteers. We assigned larger amounts where the damage is greater: 15,000 dollars for the diocese of Masan and 10,000 for Pusan diocese” says Mr Lee
In the meantime the whole Church in Korea has launched a chain of solidarity. Mr Lee says: “Next Sunday in many dioceses there will be a special collection for the disaster victims. Collections will also be taken among non Catholics, because all Koreans realise the seriousness of the situation and the needs of the people. This is one of the worst disasters ever in Korea”.
It is estimated that at least 100 people were killed, some 25,000 made homeless and that the material damages, especially communications structures, amount to more than 700,000 dollars. The authorities fear the death toll may rise because many affected areas are still isolated and information is slow in coming.
“Maemi with torrential rains and winds at 200 km per hour is said to be the worst typhoon recorded in many years. After hitting Japan and Korea the typhoon is now heading for the East China Sea. PA (Fides Service 16/9/2003 EM lines 35 Words: 348)