The government appears to be considering giving up to 260 million won ($250,000) in compensation separate from insurance payments to the families of the Sewol ferry accident.
As part of efforts to support the families of the deceased and the missing, the Finance Ministry said it plans to provide up to 240 times the country’s monthly minimum salary in compensation.
The 6,825-ton ferry sank in waters off Korea’s southwestern island of Jindo last week. More than 160 bodies were recovered, but as of Wednesday afternoon more than 100 were still missing out of the 476 people believed to have been on board.
Given that the monthly minimum salary stands at about 1.09 million won, the total compensation could be around 262 million won, the ministry said. This is based on laws that regulate the amount of compensation the government can provide to disaster victims.
The city of Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, where most of the passengers including 325 high school students hail from, and Jindo Island, the site of the sinking, were officially designated as disaster areas on Sunday.
The ministry is also considering other support measures needed to stabilize the livelihood of people stricken by the worst maritime disaster in decades. They may include such indirect support as tax relief and exemption of school fees for children.
The assistance will be focused on people living in Jindo and Ansan.
“This is what our ministry suggested, and the final compensation plan and guidelines will be determined by the central disaster management center through consultation with related ministries and agencies,” the ministry said.
“We will spare no effort to support (the victims and their families). In particular, we can enforce the support plans, if needed, even before final support measures are determined,” it said.
By Kim Yon-se and news reports