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S. Korea to offer $3 mln in refugee aid

South Korea will offer a total of $3 million in aid to Greece, Serbia and Croatia to help them cope with the growing refugee crisis in the region, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

The number of people fleeing to Europe from conflict-torn nations, such as Syria and Iraq, has reached 850,000 this year, according to the ministry. In 2012, that number was 330,000, while in 2013, it was 430,000. Last year, 620,000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.

South Korea will provide Greece, Serbia and Croatia with $1.5 million, $1 million and $500,000, respectively, in light of the humanitarian crisis that is expected to worsen as winter approaches, the ministry said in a release.

“As the worst refugee crisis since World War II continues, the refugee issue does not concern only certain regions but the entire world, and in order to resolve this, the international community must share a feeling of solidarity and responsibility, and greater assistance is demanded from other nations for recipient countries under large economic and social burdens,” it said.

The three countries were chosen based on a review of the number of refugees they are receiving and their abilities to support them.

Greece has served as an entry point for a vast majority of the refugees who then move north through countries such as Serbia, Croatia, Austria and Germany. It currently hosts the largest number of refugees in Europe, estimated at some 450,000 people.

Serbia has hosted some 200,000 people, while Croatia has received some 140,000. (Yonhap)