S Korea to spend USD 26 mn to help attacked islanders

The Prime Minister said the government will use USD 26 million out of emergency funds this year to help the resettlement of displaced residents of the border island hit by a North Korean artillery attack last month.

Seoul:) The Prime Minister said the
government will use USD 26 million out of emergency funds this
year to help the resettlement of displaced residents of the
border island hit by a North Korean artillery attack last
month.

The aid plan is part of a package of measures announced
by the government yesterday to help support the islanders.

The attack on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense Yellow Sea
border between the two Koreas on November 23 killed two
marines and two civilians, and destroyed dozens of homes and
public buildings.

"The government will render quick and sufficient
assistance to help stabilize the lives of Yeonpyeong residents
as early as possible," Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said in a
nationally televised press conference.

Out of the entire amount, the government will spend
around USD seven million for providing emergency medical and
monetary aid to the residents, around USD nine million on
restoring damaged or destroyed homes, roads and public
buildings, and another USD nine million on building seven new
air raid shelters on the island, according to the measures
drawn jointly by related government offices.

About USD two million will be used to create makeshift
public jobs for evacuees who returned home but have no work.

Kim said the government will also establish a long-term
plan on comprehensive development of the five Yellow Sea
border islands, including Yeonpyeong, next year.

He said, under the plan, the islanders will receive state
subsidies for settling there and repairing their old houses.
The government will also help them by providing better
educational environments for their children and lowering
public utility charges, while considering measures to
compensate for income losses sustained by fishing and farming
households due to the North`s attack, according to the plan.

The government announcement was received with skepticism
by Yeonpyeong residents, most of whom are still sheltered at
Incheon, the administrative city to which the island belongs.
"There are no specific plans," said Kim Young-shik, a
60-year-old. "The government said it will give us money to
repair houses, but that`s their responsibility anyway." Choi
Myung-ja, 59, said the promised money will not amount to much
if divided among five islands.

PTI

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