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(2nd LD) Seoul to increase aid to Haiti to $10 mln

All Headlines 17:56 January 18, 2010

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead paras; UPDATES with remarks from foreign ministry official on decision to boost aid for Haiti to at least US$10 million)

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will provide over US$10 million worth of emergency relief aid and long-term support to Haiti, the foreign ministry said Monday, one of largest contributions committed to the Caribbean nation since it was hit by a powerful earthquake last week.

Seoul earlier promised to provide a $1-million aid package, consisting of supplies and rescue workers, soon after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti last Tuesday, leaving hundreds of thousands killed or injured and the capital of Port au Prince in ruins.

"(South Korea's) aid to Haiti will come to at least $10 million," a ministry official told reporters, adding that the aid will include both short-term relief supplies and long-term rehabilitation efforts.

About 30 percent of the aid will come from private firms or civic relief groups, according to the official.

Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun earlier said a joint meeting of related government offices and civilian groups will be held Tuesday.

The total amount to be committed to Haiti will surpass amounts pledged by some of the world's largest economies, including Japan, according to officials.

"The government is reviewing ways to expand our support for Haiti, considering the seriousness of the damage from the earthquake and also our efforts to increase our contribution to the international community," the ministry spokesman told a press briefing.

A group of 35 South Korean rescue workers arrived in Haiti late Sunday (local time) and began providing various support efforts, ranging from search and rescue to medical services, the ministry spokesman said.

The first shipment of emergency relief supplies, including medicine, was set to arrive in the Caribbean country later this week.

"The $1 million aid package was the first batch of emergency relief aid provided during the early stages of relief efforts. We will review comprehensive support for Haiti as we are beginning to get a better picture of damage there," a ministry official told Yonhap News Agency earlier in the day.

The move comes one day after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said his country will make additional contributions to international efforts to help rebuild the Caribbean country while speaking to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a telephone conversation.


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