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Gov't mulls offering up to 260 mln won in compensation for sunken ferry victims

All Headlines 10:45 April 23, 2014

SEJONG, April 23 (Yonhap) -- Families of victims of the ill-fated ferry Sewol could each receive up to 260 million won (US$250,000) in compensation, the finance ministry said Wednesday.

The 6,825-ton ferry sank in waters off South Korea's southwestern island of Jindo last week. The death toll continued to rise during search for the more than 16O people still missing among the 476 people believed to have been aboard the vessel.

As part of efforts to support the families of the confirmed dead and the missing, finance ministry said it plans to provide up to 240 times the country's monthly minimum salaries in compensation.

Given that the monthly minimum salaries stand at about 1.09 million won, the total compensation could be around 262 million won, the ministry said. This is based on laws that regulate the amount of compensation the government can provide to disaster victims.

The ministry is also considering other support measures needed to stabilize the livelihood of people stricken by the worst maritime disaster in decades. They may include such indirect support as tax relief and exemption of school fees for children.

The assistance will be focused on people living in Jindo and Ansan, which were designated as special disaster zones on Sunday. Ansan was included as 325 students from a high school in the city were on the Sewol for a school trip.

"This is what our ministry suggested, and the final compensation plan and guidelines will be determined by the central disaster management center through consultation with related ministries and agencies," the ministry said.

"We will spare no effort to support (the victims and their families). In particular, we can enforce the support plans, if needed, even before final support measures are determined," it said.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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