Red Cross offers relief aid for NKorea

AP News
Posted: Aug 03, 2011 5:46 AM
Red Cross offers relief aid for NKorea

South Korea's Red Cross said Wednesday it has offered North Korea $4.7 million in basic humanitarian supplies to help the country recover from flooding and heavy rains.

The rains have pounded the impoverished country since June and caused severe damage, according to North Korea's news agencies. Dozens were killed or went missing and thousands were displaced just up to mid-July, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News reported this week.

The South's Unification Ministry, which handles affairs with North Korea, said Pyongyang had yet to respond to the Red Cross offer, made as diplomats discuss a possible resumption of international talks meant to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programs.

The nuclear envoys of the two Koreas agreed last month on the sidelines of a security forum in Indonesia to work toward resuming the long-stalled talks.

The Red Cross also provided aid when North Korea was hit by floods last summer, but suspended the shipments after the North bombarded a South Korean island in November, killing four people.

The Red Cross in South Korea operates independently, but sometimes receives government funds and provides humanitarian aid to the North while allowing Seoul officials to avoid controversy over political motives.

Heavy downpours in South Korea have also caused landslides and flooding that killed dozens of people late last month.