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S. Korea offers to send relief items to flood-hit N. Korea

All Headlines 17:51 August 10, 2011

By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea sent North Korea a list of relief items it is willing to deliver to flood victims in the impoverished nation, an official said Wednesday.

The South's Red Cross delivered the message to the North earlier Wednesday, offering 5 billion won (US$4.6 million) worth of emergency staples including nutritional foods for infants, biscuits and instant noodles, according to the official from the Unification Ministry.

The aid comes after North Korea reported dozens of deaths and injuries from heavy rains that pounded the country in recent weeks. Seoul offered last week to provide the flood-hit nation with medical supplies and other necessities such as blankets and instant noodles, but the North responded with a request for food, cement and heavy construction equipment. The South immediately turned down the request, saying it will stick to its original plan.

The final list comprises only emergency foodstuffs and leaves out medical supplies and other necessities in order to better respond to the North's requests, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"We expect the North to accept our aid plan," the official said.

If delivered, the relief items will be the first form of aid sent to North Korea by the South following Pyongyang's deadly military attack on a South Korean island last November. Since then, Seoul has selectively allowed civic groups to send humanitarian and medical assistance, with more than 2,000 tons of flour currently being delivered in batches.

hague@yna.co.kr
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