Singer launches 'healing project' for ferry victims

SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean pop singer Kim Jang-hoon said Friday he has launched a civilian treatment program to help heal the trauma from April's ferry disaster in cooperation with various relief groups.

"I will help the victims of the ferry tragedy by forming a civilian trauma-healing organization," Kim said during a news conference to promote the program. "We hope our activities will become a flare of hope at a time when the tragedy is about to be forgotten."

The 46-year-old rock-ballad singer is well-known for his love of South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, and for donations to charity groups.

Joining the program titled "WooRe (Wonderful of one, resilience)" will be international relief agencies such as Good People and IsraAID, and South Korea's Cha Hospital, the singer said.

Starting with the ferry disaster victims and their families, the team will continue to provide physiological treatment to victims of other tragic accidents and stage cultural events for them, possibly with the participation of leading K-pop groups such as EXO and Super Junior.

The 6,825-ton Sewol sank off the country's southwest coast on April 16, leaving more than 300 people dead or missing. Most of the victims were students from a high school near Seoul on a field trip to the southern resort island of Jeju.

"My young nephew was killed in an accident about 10 years ago. That was the day my heart hurt the most in my life," Kim said. "That's why I can sympathize better than others with the families who lost their loved ones in the ferry accident."

He said that, above all, government officials and lawmakers need to make an effort to "try to understand the families and take care of them."

"I'll try to come up with various events in the future so the Sewol ferry disaster cannot be forgotten," he said.

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