S. Korea pledges US$5 mln in aid to Philippines

SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will offer US$5 million in relief aid to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines and send a team of relief workers there, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The government decided to provide the Philippines with assistance in cash and relief goods including food, blankets and tents, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The goods will be shipped to the country after the Philippine government's approval, which is expected to take a day or two, according to the ministry.

"The aid decision has been made, considering the seriousness of human and economic damage from the typhoon, and our old and close bilateral relationship," the ministry said.

As part of further relief aid, Seoul will also dispatch a team of relief workers to the country, including 20 medical workers and 14 emergency rescue workers, the ministry also said.

The Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation, the council for local non-government groups, will separately offer $1 million in aid to the Philippines, the ministry also noted, adding that the decision was made during the joint government-private meeting held earlier on Tuesday to discuss ways to help the country.

The super typhoon Haiyan pounded the central Philippines with strong winds and heavy rains on Friday, with the death toll reportedly reaching 10,000.

Prime Minister Chung Hong-won also extended his consolation to the Philippines, vowing to muster efforts to help the country.

"In regard to emergency rescue and damage restoration, (South Korean officials), led by the foreign ministry, are advised to closely cooperate with the Philippine government," the prime minister said in a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day.

"I feel very sorry for the massive human and property damage and extend my consolation to the Philippine people," Chung said. "Our government will put forth every possible effort."

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry said about 33 South Koreans were reported to be living in the area affected by the typhoon and 10 remained unaccounted for as of early Tuesday in the wake of the monster typhoon.

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