&#91EDITORIALS&#93Extending a helping hand

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Extending a helping hand

After Typhoon Maemi ravaged the peninsula, deep wounds have been left behind. There are people who still have not heard from loved ones who are missing, while vast areas look like a war zone, with crushed houses and mud-covered factories. The destruction and havoc caused by the storm is a matter of deep concern. Victims are trying to rescue what is left or are contemplating rebuilding. Unless one is a victim oneself, it is hard to feel what they are going through.
In times like this, we have a beautiful tradition of not looking the other way. We view our neighbors’ pain as ours, and we always have tried to share the sadness. Help from volunteers is surely a much-needed support both physically and psychologically.
In order to restore the rice paddies and to cope with the tremendous amount of debris that has piled up, volunteers have lined up en masse, while donations and much-needed items are pouring into the hard-hit areas every minute.
The JoongAng Ilbo has been involved in volunteer activities the whole year. After the most recent disaster, a new wave of volunteers has been lining up. The Korea Council of Volunteer Organizations is at the center of all such activities in Korea, operating a centralized situation room. Untill now, there has not been a truly centralized effort, which has sometimes caused confusion. The organization’s aim is to streamline and organize the volunteer networks in order to provide more efficient volunteer activities.
It is impossible to overcome disasters solely through government efforts. In an unexpected crisis, every source of help is wanted and needed.
Right now, people are rebuilding destroyed walls with bare hands and bailing water out of houses with buckets, while some island areas still must worry about food supplies since they have been isolated by the storm. The area damaged by Maemi is larger than the area affected by Typhoon Rusa last year. Hence, more hands are needed. Each individual’s support and aid, however small, will give a tenfold or hundredfold moral boost to those who need it most.
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