30B won going to Yeonpyeong for reconstruction

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30B won going to Yeonpyeong for reconstruction

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Students from Yeonpyeong Island attend classes yesterday at Woonnam Elementary School, Incheon, where temporary classrooms were set up. [YONHAP]


About 30 billion won ($26 million) is headed to Yeonpyeong Island, with the government yesterday announcing plans to rebuild the island’s village, which was devastated in the Nov. 23 attack by North Korea.

Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik held a press conference yesterday to announce the government’s plan to pay for restoration measures.

“The government will relocate the islanders to temporary residences [on the mainland] and stabilize their lives, supporting the education of their children as well,” Kim said. “We will immediately allocate about 30 billion won for the islanders.”

Kim said emergency funds consist of about 8 billion won for building temporary houses on the mainland, 10 billion won for repairing public and private facilities on the island, 10 billion won for upgrading air raid shelters and 2 billion won for job creation. In addition, older houses will be remodeled and farmers and fishermen will receive financial aid.

The government also promised to develop a more efficient system on the island to deal with attacks from the North.

Also yesterday, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology finished arranging temporary classrooms in Woonnam Elementary School in Incheon for the 104 primary, middle and high school students from the island. The students started attending those facilities yesterday.

“The Woonnam Elementary School lent 12 vacant classrooms to the children of the islanders,” said Lee Ha-yeon, an official at the property management team of the Incheon Office of Education.

The ministry is allocating about 360 million won to renovate the classrooms and outfit them with such items as computers and copy machines, Lee said.

With islanders still living temporarily at a public bathhouse in Incheon, which is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the temporary elementary school, the Incheon Office of Education arranged a school bus for the children’s transportation.

All of the teachers are the same as the ones the students had on Yeonpyeong Island.

“I feel relieved to send my children to the school because they will be accompanied by their teachers [who taught them on the island],” one mother, Choe Deok-hyeon, said.

According to the Incheon Office of Education, the ministry will build a new united school for students on the island at a cost of 16 billion won. The schedule for the construction has not yet been decided.

About 120 islanders visited Yeonpyeong over the weekend, with some looking over their homes and others checking their fishing equipment.

Several public offices are set to resume services, including the only financial office, the Nonghyup Yeonpyeong branch, which reopens today. The police office and fire station restarted operations yesterday.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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