Korean companies are working to provide the necessary aid and emotional support as the nation still rocks from shock and grief over the tragic accident involving the Sewol ferry.
Samsung Group, the nation’s largest corporation, reportedly sent out an official memo for employees to refrain from activities such as golfing and drinking on April 17, a day after the ferry started to sink.
Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, who recently returned from an extended overseas business trip, expressed his condolences during an executive meeting, after which he set down the guidelines.
The company has now put on indefinite hold its next talk show-style concert designed to connect Samsung executives with the younger generation and scheduled to be held at the Korea Military Academy on April 25.
Firms also advised employees to exercise extra precaution in posting company-related news on social network services out of concern they may lack respect for the grieving and those still waiting for family members to be rescued.
LG Group, in a show of respect, decided to delay the LG Whisen rhythmic All Stars 2014, a gala show for gymnast Son Yeon-jae sponsored by LG, to the latter half of this year. The show was originally scheduled for next week.
Among the SK Group affiliates, SK Telecom has halted all ads featuring celebrities.
The Federation of Korean Industries canceled its annual track meet, and other business organizations are expected to cancel or delay similar events.
Meanwhile, in relief efforts, local shipbuilder Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries has agreed to provide a floating dock to help salvage the ferry.
The company also set up a soup kitchen at the port offering free meals to waiting families, along with sending boats, ambulances and divers to the scene of the accident.
SK Telecom, along with mobile carriers KT and LG Uplus, has widened the scope of its telecom services on Jindo Island and the surrounding areas, and has provided free phone charging booths and mobile phones.
Kolon Group ― responsible for a February accident involving college students at a resort it operates that led to many casualties ― has sent employees to volunteer, along with goods and commodities such as undergarments and socks.
Korean Air sent 25,000 bottles of water and 1,000 blankets, and has said it would soon send more aid. Choseon Pharmaceutical and Trading has provided the families of the missing ferry passengers with pharmaceutical products to help soothe their minds.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org)