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Caritas Corea to begin North Korean aid in April

New relief agency aims to ease suffering of most vulnerable

Caritas Corea to begin North Korean aid in April
Maryknoll Father Gerard Hammond (third left) and Bishop Francis Xavier Ahn Myong-ok (second left) at the launch of Caritas Corea International
Stephen Hong, Seoul

January 28, 2011

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Newly established Caritas Corea International, the Korean bishops’ first official foreign relief agency, says it will begin sending aid to North Korea from April. We aim to send some US$ 1 million in aid to help children, women and the aged, the most vulnerable people in the impoverished North, said Maryknoll Father Gerard Hammond, general manager of the agency’s North Korea Program. Relief for the North will start in April, Father Hammond told yesterday. The new “international” aid agency, launched on January 18 will draw support from Caritas in Europe and Catholic groups in the US, he said. Aid for North Korea would focus on agricultural development, medical care and children, the American priest added. Initially, the fight against tuberculosis and malnutrition in children and pregnant women would be carried out in the outer suburbs of Pyongyang, he explained, but in the long term, aid would be expanded to remote areas where help is needed more. North Koreans are desperately in need of aid because of severe cold weather recently and ongoing food shortages, Father Hammond said. Caritas Corea International’s move comes as the government begins to ease a strict ban on North-South exchanges following the North’s shelling of a South Korean island in November. Related report Caritas in Korea set to help the poor worldwide KO13069.1638
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