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Korean charity pledges help to Myanmar refugees

Korea Hope Foundation plans to provide tents and essential supplies to refugees in the Catholic stronghold of Kayah state

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: July 21, 2021 07:39 AM GMT

Updated: July 21, 2021 08:29 AM GMT

Korean charity pledges help to Myanmar refugees

Children from Pu Phar village, displaced after fighting between the Myanmar military and members of the People's Defence Force, attend a school lesson under a makeshift structure as they take refuge in the jungle near Demoso, Kayah state, on July 3. (Photo: AFP)

A South Korean priest-run charity is raising funds to provide tents and essential supplies to 300 refugees in Kayah state, a Catholic stronghold in eastern Myanmar.

Korea Hope Foundation, a charity based in capital Seoul, has Father Choi Ki-sik as chairman of its board. The priest in Seoul Archdiocese has appealed: “Let’s work together for a world where justice and peace flourish. Please join us.”

Father Choi said the refugees from Kayah were forced to flee their homes to avoid death. They are battling cold, hunger and poor sanitation during a long rainy season

His charity plans to use donations to supply tents, sleeping bags, coats, raincoats, flu and malaria prevention medicines and hygiene products to the refugees, the Catholic Times of Korea reports.

The foundation held an emergency support campaign in April and May to support the Myanmar Democratization Movement, raising 55 million won (nearly US$47,000) that helped in covering transportation, communication costs and food and medicines for activists and 2,640 refugee families.

Founded in 2005, the charity acts as an international cooperation organization working to build solidarity between Koreans and people around the world based on the spirit of love and human dignity regardless of race, religion and ideology. It also contributes to building an egalitarian global society.

More than 900 people, mostly anti-coup protesters, have been killed by the junta and more than 5,000 remain behind bars

The Catholic Church has played a vital role in providing shelter, food, non-food items and medical support to more than 60,000 out of 120,000 internally displaced persons after fighting erupted between the military and civilian resistance groups in Kayah and neighboring Shan state in May.

More than 900 people, mostly anti-coup protesters, have been killed by the junta and more than 5,000 remain behind bars since the Feb. 1 coup.

Myanmar has also seen a surge in coronavirus cases and an increased death toll due to the junta’s mismanagement of the pandemic and a crackdown on medical workers.

Korean Catholics from Seoul Archdiocese have donated 50 million won ($43,000) to provide essential medicines, equipment to medical teams and nursing assistants and volunteers at church-run clinics in Loikaw Diocese that covers Kayah state.

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Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul, who expressed solidarity with the people of Myanmar, also provided an emergency fund of $50,000 for Myanmar in March.

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