South Korea to send cement to flood-hit North

South Korea to send cement to flood-hit North
Published: 24 August 2007

South Korea will send building materials and equipment worth KRW37.4bn (US$39.7m) to North Korea to help rebuild houses and roads after floods ravaged the impoverished country this month, a minister said on Friday.

North Korea and international aid agencies said the North was hit by some of its worst flooding in years that ravaged farm land, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and buildings and left extensive damage to roads and highways.

Hundreds of people have been reported dead or missing and more than 300,000 are homeless.

South Korea has been shipping emergency aid supplies comprising food, water, medicine and blankets worth KRW7.1bn to the North this week.

"It won’t take long since the (building) materials can be acquired immediately, as long as we can arrange for transport," Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung told reporters. "I believe it will be mid-September."

The materials will include 100,000 tonnes of cement, 5,000t of steel, 20,000t of road pavement materials, trucks and machinery and 500t of fuel for the equipment, Lee said.

Transporting the supplies will cost up to 10 billion won additionally, he said.

Lee said North Korea was in a state of emergency, with the government and residents out in full force for recovery work.