South Korean Red Cross Offers Flood Aid to North

Posted August 3rd, 2011 at 5:45 am (UTC-5)
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South Korea's Red Cross is offering millions of dollars worth of flood relief to North Korea in a move that reflects easing tensions between the hostile neighbors.

The Red Cross said it sent a message to its counterpart in Pyongyang Wednesday offering $4.7 million in medical supplies and other necessities. The independent organization said funding for the relief effort is being provided by the South Korean government.

There was no immediate response to the offer from North Korea, which disclosed this week it had suffered severe damage to crops and lost dozens of lives during heavy flooding last month.

South Korea cut almost all ties with the North following the sinking of a warship in March 2010 and an artillery attack on a South Korean island in November. However diplomats from the two countries held talks during a regional security conference in Bali late last month, and North Korean officials were in New York for talks with American officials last week.

On Tuesday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies announced it has allocated more than $590,000 to help homeless and displaced people in North Korea over the next six months.

The North said this week that 2,900 homes were destroyed by the latest flooding and more than 60,000 hectares of cropland were inundated.