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Aid groups, broadcasters to raise funds for Japan quake victims

South Korean relief organizations and broadcasters said Monday that they will collect donations to help the victims of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, adding to the global efforts to support the quake-hit country.

The move comes after South Korea has pledged to provide as much support as possible for Japan after a magnitude 9.0 quake struck Japan on Friday, unleashing a gigantic tsunami that swept the northeastern region in one of the worst natural disasters the country has seen. By official count, about 3,800 people have been confirmed dead with hundreds of others missing, but media reports say the number could be as high as 20,000.

South Korea also dispatched a 102-member rescue team to the earthquake-ravaged areas.

To support the relief efforts, public broadcaster KBS plans to air a two-hour live fundraising program twice on Tuesday. People can donate money by visiting the company's headquarters and regional bureaus or by using an automated telephone system.

"We prepared this program to raise warm support on humanitarian grounds as a neighboring country," KBS said in a statement.

Another major broadcaster, MBC, also plans to air a similar donation program on Wednesday.

International relief organizations and local civic groups also said they are collecting donations and aid supplies.

The Korean Committee for UNICEF said it has launched a donation campaign through e-mail as well as social network services such as Facebook and Twitter.

The local office aims to initially raise 1 billion won (US$887,000) and extend its donation campaign over the next two months in a bid to raise restoration funds, it said.

Korea Disaster Relief Association said it plans to provide 4,000 emergency supply kits that include blankets, clothing and underwear, in addition to 150,000 bottles of water.  

Internet corporations also moved to help the quake-devastated country.

Daum, one of the nation's major Internet portals, raised more than 40 million won from some 900 netizens in less than two days after launching a donation drive.

South Korea is one of the most densely wired countries in the world, with 95 percent of its people having access to high-speed, broadband Internet.



(Yonhap News)
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