More help for Haiti on the way: Lee

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More help for Haiti on the way: Lee

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People line up to board a plane en route to Miami from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday. [AP]

In a telephone call with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Saturday, President Lee Myung-bak promised to give additional financial aid to earthquake-devastated Haiti on top of the $1 million already provided.

“Korea began by offering emergency aid of $1 million, but intends to add more support in a bid to participate in the UN’s rescue effort,” Lee was quoted as saying by Blue House spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye.

Lee also said Korean citizens have launched fund-raising activities and emergency rescue crews have left for Haiti, which is the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. Government sources said a 25-member Korean rescue team and two rescue dogs arrived yesterday at Santo Domingo, the capital of neighboring Dominican Republic, and will enter Haiti today.

“As a country that overcame the poverty of the ruins of the [Korean] War on the back of support from the international community, Korea will look into ways to help further,” Lee added.

Ban, the Korean-born UN secretary general, said yesterday that the United Nations and its partners were appealing for $562 million to help the victims of the earthquake that struck early last week. The estimated death toll from the disaster could reach as high as 200,000 people.

Nonprofit and religious organizations, private firms and celebrities have joined in relief efforts. Aid groups such as World Vision, Good Neighbors, Unicef Korea, Korean Red Cross, Korea Food for the Hungry International, Plan Korea and Compassion Korea have opened accounts for donations, and the major broadcasters - MBC, KBS and SBS - have begun accepting funds via phone.

Kolon, a local conglomerate, has sent 180 million won ($160,000) worth of tents while auto giant Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group has donated $100,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.


By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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반기문 유엔 사무총장과 전화통화


이명박 대통령이 지진 피해로 신음하는 아이티에 대해 추가 지원 계획을 밝혔다고 17일 김은혜 청와대 대변인이 전했다.

이 대통령은 전날 밤 9시30분부터 15분간 반기문 유엔사무총장과 전화통화를 갖고 "한국정부가 우선 100만 달러 규모의 긴급 지원을 시작했지만 유엔의 긴급구호 지원활동에 동참하는 차원에서 추가로 구호 지원에 나서려 한다"고 말했다고 김 대변인은 전했다.

이 대통령은 "신년 초에 벌어진 아이티의 인명과 재산 피해에 대해 가슴아프게 생각한다"면서 현지에서 활동중이던 유엔 직원의 희생에도 위로의 말을 전하고 싶다"고 말했다.

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