South Korea approves more private aid for North

South Korea authorises private shipments of food for hungry North children.

Updated: Apr 04, 2011, 11:46 AM IST

Seoul: South Korea has authorised private shipments of food for hungry North Korean children, an official said on Monday, the latest aid packages to be approved since Seoul eased its policy last week.

Ingredients for porridge and baby formula worth 176 million won (USD 161,734) will be sent to orphanages and day care centres in the northeastern and midwestern provinces, said the Unification Ministry.

Chun Hae-Sung, spokesman for the ministry, which must by law authorise cross-border contacts, said the two separate aid packages -- from World Vision and the Join Together Society -- would be sent by road or sea after April 20.

"We will continue to review and approve private humanitarian aid targeting vulnerable populations including children by considering the need, transparency of distribution and urgency," he said.

The ministry said last Thursday it approved a request by a private aid group to send tuberculosis medicine, the first such approval since the North`s deadly attack on a border island last November.

The shelling attack killed four South Koreans including two civilians and prompted Seoul to suspend all aid to its impoverished communist neighbour.

On Friday, the ministry said it would let the Korean Sharing Movement send bread, milk powder and candies for children worth 30 million won.

The South`s eased stance follows a report last month from the World Food Programme and other UN agencies, which said more than six million Northerners urgently need food assistance.

Bureau Report