Snow-hit areas to get special funds

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 12, 2014 - 21:59
  • Updated : Feb 12, 2014 - 21:59
The Ministry of Security and Public Administration said on Wednesday it will provide a total of 4.5 billion won to help municipal offices in regions hard-hit by record-high snowfall.

The announcement came hours after the government and the ruling Saenuri Party agreed to provide special grants to Gangwon and North Gyeongsang provinces, which have suffered seriously from days of heavy snowfall.

The ministry said it has allocated 3 billion won for Gangwon Province, 1.2 billion for North Gyeongsang Province and 300 million won for Ulsan City.

Earlier the day, Saenuri’s key policymaker Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon said that the government has accepted the party’s request to offer support to the east coast provinces. The regions have been hit with more than 100 centimeters of snow since last Thursday, with some parts experiencing the heaviest snowfall in a century, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

Over 100 schools were shut down, farm facilities destroyed and roads blocked, causing inconvenience and raising safety concerns for people in the regions.

“The government has promised to immediately offer ‘special grants’ to the regions according to the party’s request,” Rep. Kim said after the meeting.

Special grants are limited amounts of financial aid provided by the central government upon the request of municipalities affected by disasters.

The party said it has also asked the government to designate the heavily affected regions as special disaster areas and carry out restoration work by deploying a workforce and equipment. If designated a special disaster zone, additional money from state coffers will be allocated to the region to ease the financial burden of the provincial government responsible for clean-up work.

“What is urgent now is to minimize damage to human lives and properties,” Security Minister Yoo Jeong-bok said, adding that the ministry has sent officials to estimate the amount of damages reported by major cities in the affected regions. Yoo attended the meeting as a representative of the government.

By Cho Chung-un (