Foreign workers help repair flood damage

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Foreign workers help repair flood damage

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INJE, Gangwon ― About 40 foreign blue-collar workers shouted, “Let’s cheer up!” as they cleared sand from a restaurant at the Ongnyeotang rest stop in Gangwon province on July 30. They were words of encouragement to themselves and people from the rest stop who lost property in the recent floods. Due to heavy rain on July 15, rocks and tree branches covered the area’s parking lot, and left 1 meter (3.3 feet) of sand inside the restaurant. The workers cleared and cleaned the restaurant, measuring about 264 square meters (3,164 square feet), over three hours.
The foreign workers that day were all connected with the Ansan Foreign Workers Center in Ansan, Gyeonggi province. They volunteered to help with restoration of flood damage on a program managed by the JoongAng Ilbo and the Korean Association of Volunteer Centers.
On July 17, the Bangladeshi workers first discussed volunteering when they saw many flood victims suffering from loss and damage. In a meeting, about 30 workers decided to volunteer. “Although I am not a Korean, I decided to help the flood victims as a human being, just the same,” said a worker named Jacky, 36, who came to Korea in 1995.
The workers contacted the Ansan Foreign Workers Center, which asked for support from the Ansan City Government. The city government provided a bus and tools and other local communities, such as “the village without borders” (a town in Ansan where foreign workers reside) and “the Paradise” (a Pakistani restaurant), provided meals and funds.
Each Bangladeshi volunteer also donated 20,000 won ($21) to 30,000 won to make shirts with the words “Help The People” and to give boxes of instant noodles and drinking water to the flood victims. Besides the Bangladeshi workers, workers from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Uganda and Nigeria volunteered.
Nineteen volunteers from Japan, the Philippines and the United States also helped on July 30 to repair flood damage in Pyeongchang, Gangwon province, alongside Korean volunteers.


by Lee Chan-ho
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