Korea joins in efforts to help Haiti after quake

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Korea joins in efforts to help Haiti after quake


Men remove the battered body of a young woman from the rubble on Wednesday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Tuesday’s quake left a landscape of collapsed buildings hospitals, schools, churches, ramshackle homes, even the gleaming national palace the rubble sending up a white cloud that shrouded the entire capital. [AP]

Joining other nations in reaching out to help Haiti in the aftermath of a massive earthquake, the Korean government announced yesterday it would provide emergency supplies worth $1 million and send relief workers to the Caribbean country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun offered Korea’s condolences to Haiti, which was wrecked by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake this week. He then explained it may take some time to sort out procedural details and the specifics of the aid package.

“Given the gravity of the situation, we’d like to speed up the process and send our aid as soon as possible,” Kim said, adding there would be more aid from civic groups.

U.S. President Barack Obama called for an all-out rescue effort to help Haiti, as thousands of troops were on standby. Australia pledged $9 million in emergency aid. Russia has dispatched search and rescue teams and will send medical supplies. As it prepares to help Haiti, the Korean government has located all six Koreans that had gone missing there.

All three Korean business leaders who had been staying at a hotel that collapsed were located early yesterday, Korean time, the Foreign Ministry said. On Tuesday, the ministry had said there were four Koreans at the hotel, but the delegation included only three, led by sewing businessman Kang Gyeong-soo.

A ministry official also said two Korean citizens who had flown in from Vietnam on a business trip were found to be safe. The Korean Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City confirmed their location and that both were headed for the Dominican Republic. The last Korean to be accounted for was a Haiti-based entrepreneur named Seo Gwang-seok. About 70 other Koreans in Haiti were being evacuated to the Dominican Republic, the ministry said. Seventeen Koreans were moving to the neighboring nation on bus and the rest would soon follow, the ministry official explained.

“We’re concerned about aftershocks, plus looting and other security issues,” the official said. “We will take all necessary safety measures.”

By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article

입법·사법·행정부 기능 마비, 원조 담당할 유엔 건물도 폭삭, 한국인 70여 명은 모두 무사

아이티가 총체적 패닉(공황 상태)에 빠졌다. 규모 7.0의 강진으로 수도 포르토프랭스는 철저히 파괴됐다. 중국 쓰촨(四川), 동남아 쓰나미, 일본 고베(神戶) 등 대지진은 많았지만 아이티처럼 수도 전체가 폐허가 된 예는 드물다.

국가 기능은 거의 마비됐다. 대통령궁과 주요 정부청사, 의회 건물이 붕괴돼 입법·사법·행정부의 기능은 사실상 정지됐다. 대통령은 홈리스(homeless)가 됐다. 지구상 최빈국인 아이티를 지원해왔던 유엔지원단도 활동을 중단했다. 직원 150명이 실종됐기 때문이다.

포르토프랭스 시내에선 성한 건물을 찾아 보기 어렵다. 길거리에는 수습하지 못한 시체들이 뒹굴고 있다. 무너진 건물에 깔린 생존자들의 애타는 비명은 끊이지 않았다. 전기·통신도 끊겼다. 일부 시민이 상점을 약탈해 치안마저 불안하다.

사망자 숫자마저 가늠하기 어려운 상황이다. 유엔 주재 아이티 총영사인 펠릭스 어거스틴은 “아이티가 초토화됐다. 10만 명 이상이 숨진 것으로 보인다”고 말했다. 유리 라토르튀 아이티 상원의원은 “사망자가 최대 50만 명에 육박할 수 있다”고 전했다.

턱없이 부족한 의료 시설 때문에 부상자들은 이웃 도미니카공화국으로 건너가고 있다. 접경 지대에는 부상자들을 실어 나르는 버스 행렬이 이어지고 있다. AFP통신은 현재 포르토프랭스에서 문을 연 병원은 단 한 곳뿐이라고 전했다.

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