Christians in South Korea have been among the first to help families in the North cope with the country's prolonged famine.
The North Korean government's hostility to outside influence has made the work of famine relief much more difficult. According to a recent report by UNICEF, 70 percent of North Korean children under age 5 are in danger of dying from malnutrition or starvation.
However, famine relief assistance is now coming from South Korea via the Korean Church Federation of Support for North Korea (KCFSNK), formed in 1997.
Through the organization, Presbyterian, Methodist, Holiness, Baptist, and Pentecostal churches are sending food, medicine, and fertilizer to North Korea. Also, several Christian-related organizations, such as World Vision Korea, Korea Food for the Hungry International, and South-North Sharing Campaign for Peace and Reunification, are providing aid for North Korea through KCFSNK.
In the past two years, South Korean Christians have sent U.S. $4.3 million in aid to North Korea.
Meanwhile, World Vision Korea has set up six noodle factories producing 300 tons of noodles each month so that 60,000 children and elderly people can eat once a day. World Vision Korea is planning to provide $10 million worth of aid to North Korea.
An estimated 2 million North Koreans have died from starvation since 1995. Three years of floods and droughts have exacerbated the problem (CT, Oct. 26, 1998, p. 20).
The relief efforts have been supported by South Korean President Kim Dae Jung's "Sunshine Policy," which emphasizes reconciliation for peaceful reunification. The government wants to improve South-North relations, avoiding sensitive political issues.
Copyright © 1999 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.