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Catholic agency rushes aid to North Korean blast scene

Caritas Internationalis is rushing aid to victims of last week's train explosion in Ryongchon County, North Korea.

Independent Catholic News reports the Catholic aid and development organisation is expected to launch an international appeal for $A273,040 within the next few days.

On Thursday, two trains collided at the Ryongchon Station in Ryongchon county, North Pyongan province. The blast was caused by a shunting accident that led to an explosion of wagons containing ammonium nitrate and containers of fuel oil, according to local officials.

On Saturday, a UN, NGO and Red Cross mission travelled to Ryongchon together with DPRK officials to conduct a preliminary assessment and deliver medical supplies, blankets, kitchen utensils and other relief items.

The casualty figures provided by the government are as follows include 154 dead and 1300 injured, but it is feared that the actual number of victims may be much higher.

After learning of the disaster, Caritas sent immediately a message of condolences and also offered assistance such as drugs, medical supplies and other relief goods for the victims and their families. Within eight hours, a message was received from the Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee thanking Caritas for the concern and expressing gratefulness and appreciation for the help offered.

Catholic agency rushes aid to North Korean blast scene (Independent Catholic News 26/4/04)

NKorea rejects South's emergency aid offer (Radio Australia 26/4/04)
US offers supplies to North Korea (BBC 26/4/04)

27 Apr 2004