The government on Sunday designated two areas directly linked to the deadly sinking of the ferry Sewol as special disaster zones to speed up state financial and other support for the families of the victims.
The 6,825-ston ferry carrying a total of 476 people on board sank off Jindo, an island off South Korea's southwestern coast on Wednesday, causing a heavy toll of casualties. So far, 174 people have been rescued with 244 others listed as missing. The bodies of 58 people have been retrieved.
Those on board the ferry from Incheon west of Seoul to the southern resort island of Jeju included 325 students from Danwon High School in Ansan, a city southwest of Seoul, who were on a school trip.
The government on Sunday designated both Jindo and Ansan as special disaster zones. The action will entitle the two areas to special government financial support for all costs directly associated with the disaster and rescue efforts.
The decision will also allow central and provincial governments to financially help the families of the victims and stabilize their their livelihoods.
Officials said the state support would include a waiver of taxes, public utilities costs and insurance obligations. The government can also assist in any psychological treatment of the victims' families who need to recover from the shock. (Yonhap)