South Korea's relief aid for the train explosion at Ryongchong Station (As of May 5)

  1. Outline of Accident

April 22

Train explosion occurred at Ryongchon station in the northern province of Pyongang, North Korea.

- The explosion was caused by an electrical short-circuit during the track switching of wagons loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer and tanker wagons (April 24 Korea Central News Agency)

- As of April 26, the extent of damages covers a radius of 1.5~2 km, and the depth of the blast goes 15m deep. The accident destroyed approximately 8,100 houses including 1,850 houses that totally collapsed and about 30 buildings. It left about 150 dead and about 1,300 injured. The North is currently trying to determine the number of the missing (April 26 KCNA)

2. North Korea's Response

The North, as an unusual gesture, quickly made an announcement not only about the accident but also about its scope and cause. The North, acknowledging China's humanitarian relief aid, appealed to the international community to join the relief efforts

- April 24-25 (KCNA, Pyongyang Broadcasting Station, Central TV), April 25 (Rodong Shinmun)

The North, in its official response to the South's telephone notifications sent on April 24 and 26 in the name of the chairman of the South Korean Red Cross, expressed its willingness to accept the South's relief aid

3. Progress

April 23

Acting President Goh Kun ordered to draw up relief measures for North Korea on humanitarian grounds

April 23 14:00

In his weekly briefing to the press, Unification Minister Jeong Se-Hyun stated: - =B0The government will do its utmost to help North Korea on humanitarian and brotherhood grounds- =B1

April 24 10:00

Acting president Goh Kun presided over a ministerial meeting on emergency response measures for the victims of the accident at Ryongchon station

- The government, as part of its first stage relief aid, decided to provide 1 million dollars' worth of emergency relief supplies to North Korea

* As part of its support for the international community's relief efforts, the South expressed its willingness to send 200,000 dollars to World Health Organization via the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea in Geneva

April 25 09:00

The government convened a working-level Emergency Response Team meeting on providing relief aid to the victims of the train explosion

- The task force team discussed specific relief aid efforts, including the individual items of emergency relief supplies and method of transportation

April 26 11:00

The South sent a telephone notification in the name of the chairman of the South Korean Red Cross on its relief aid plan

April 26 14:00

The South received a response from the North in the name of the chairman of the North Korean Red Cross

- The North, expressing its gratitude for the South's consolation, requested that the South send relief supplies via sea route. It proposed to hold a working-level consultative meeting in Gaesong on April 27

April 27 14:30~17:00

The South and the North made an inter-Korean contact in Gaesong to discuss issues regarding emergency relief aid for the victims of the train blast at Ryongchon station

- The North, saying that there are sufficient medical supplies, daily necessities as well as medical experts already working on the site, requested an immediate supply of materials and equipment needed for the restoration of the damaged area.

* The North made a request for the following items:

40,000 square meters of steel plate for making roofs, 50,000 tons of cement, 10 bulldozers, 500 tons of diesel oil and school supplies, including blackboards, desks, and chairs.

April 27-28

Unification Minister Jeong Se-Hyun and Vice Unification Minister Cho Kun-Shik reported to the Unification, Foreign Affairs, and Trade Committee of the National Assembly on Unification Ministry's relief efforts. They also met with representatives of major political parties such as the Uri Party and the Grand National Party to explain their relief program.

April 28 12:00

First ship carrying 1 million dollars' worth of emergency relief supplies left Inchon Port

(The North completed unloading the supplies at Nampo port at 21:00 on April 29)

April 29 07:30

Acting President Goh Kun presided over a policy coordination meeting on current relief efforts and specific relief measures

- The South decided to provide materials and equipment requested by the North as much as possible

April 30 12:05

A cargo plane carrying the second shipment of relief supplies arrived at Sunan airport, Pyongyang

April 30

The South starts to operate a Transportation Support Team in Dandong, China

- Support team members from the Ministry of Unification, Ministry of Construction & Transportation, etc. will be dispatched starting from May 5

- Due to the Labor day breaks(from May 1 through 7), however, private-level relief supplies cannot be delivered to the North (A customs house in Dandong will be temporarily operated on May 4 and 6)

May 4

A third shipment of relief supplies was delivered by air from Inchon to Pyongyang

- 93 tons of medical supplies and equipment worth 2.6 billion won were dispatched to the North

May 5

A ship carrying a fourth shipment of relief supplies left Inchon for Nampo port, North Korea

- Relief supplies including daily necessities and sets of emergency relief goods amount to 1.9 billion won, or the equivalent of about 88 containers

4. Major Relief Effort

As part of its first relief aid, the South provided 1 million dollars' worth of emergency relief supplies. The supplies include:

- 400,000 dollars' worth of daily necessities and emergency relief goods

* 3,000 sets of emergency relief supplies (each set consists of two quilts, underclothes, towels and a few cakes of soap), 100,000 bowls of instant ramen, 10,000 bottles (1.8L) of mineral water, 3,000 blankets, and 3,000 pairs of training suits

- 400,000 dollars' worth of medical supplies and equipment

* A total of 91 types of medical equipment and 72 types of emergency medical supplies

The government sent 200,000 dollars to the World Health Organization to help promote the international community's relief aid to North Korea

The government will cover the transportation cost of those NGOs and civic groups that send their collected goods to the site of accident at Ryongchon station through the South Korean Red Cross.

The South will make every effort to provide restoration materials and equipment requested by the North during the inter-Korean working-level meeting on emergency relief aid

- Total relief expenses including transportation cost amount to approximately 31 billion won. The expenses will be financed through collected donations and Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund

* List of restoration materials and equipment to be sent

1. 40,000 square meters of iron plate for making roofs (0.8mm)

2. 50,000 tons of cement

3. 20,000=A7=B3 of resin sash for window (including glass)

4. 10 bulldozers (120HP)

5. 5 cranes (oil pressure method 0.5~1=A7=A9)

6. 20 trucks (over 10 ton)

7. 500 tons of diesel oil

8. 500 tons of gasoline

9. 1,000 tons of steel (500 tons of 8mm and 12mm each)

10. 500 tons of vinyl chloride for injection molding

11. 1,000 tons of ethylene copolymer for injection molding

12. 10,000 tons of food (5,000 tons of rice and wheat flour each)

13. School supplies (TV, desks and chairs, and blackboards for 1,500 students)

April 29 A.M.

The South, in the name of the chairman of the South Korean Red Cross sent a telephone notification to the North, requesting North's acceptance of overland delivery of some relief items and dispatch of technical experts

April 30

A cargo ship carrying a second shipment of relief supplies left for North Korea

- Relief supplies include 3,480 sets of emergency relief goods and 11 types of daily necessities

April 30 P.M.

The North sent a telephone notification, partly accepting the South's request of overland delivery

- The South will send 20 dump trucks and school supplies to Gaesong Industrial Complex by land

- The North will consider the request of allowing South Korean technical experts to give instructions on how to operate the equipment in either Dandong or Shinuiju, near the explosion city of Ryongchon

May 4

The South consulted with the North on the delivery of restoration equipment and materials

- According to the agreement between the two Koreas, all relief supplies will be delivered to Dandong and then to Shinuiju. Food will be delivered to Nampo port, North Korea

- The South will provide 8-ton instead of 10-ton dump trucks and 10-13mm-wide instead of 8-10 mm-wide steel. It will also replace bulldozers with payloaders

5. Future Plan

After procuring the relief supplies as early as possible, the South will deliver them to the North in two or three shipments starting from next week

- Some relief supplies will be transported via temporary roads of Gyeongui line to Gaesong at 10:00 on May 7

=B7 Such items include 20 dump trucks(8ton), school chairs and desks, school supplies, etc.

- Some relief supplies will be sent by ship to Dandong, a Chinese bordering city with the North, and then to Shinuiju and Ryongchon by land

The government will encourage civic groups and local governmental organizations to provide their relief aid through the South Korean Red Cross

- The government will form a single task force team consisting of the South Korean Red Cross, civic groups and the government

- According to the number of approvals of delivery to the North by Unification Ministry, as of May 5, about 20 organizations provided an estimated 13.8 billion won's worth of relief supplies

International Assistance for the Victims of the Accident at Ryongchon station

Individual Countries


- Whitehouse spokesperson Scott McClellan announced, on April 26, that the U.S. would provide 100,000 dollars' worth of relief aid to the North


- Foreign Ministry announced, on April 25, its plan to provide 100,000 dollars' worth of relief medical supplies.


- Foreign Ministry announced, on April 24, its plan to provide 1.2 million dollars' worth of relief supplies

- As part of its first relief aid efforts, China sent, on April 25, 2,000 blankets, 300 tents and food worth about 70,000 dollars via its Customs house in Shinuiju to North Korea

- China, on April 30, provided 1.21million dollars' worth of relief supplies including blankets, food and construction materials to the North


- April 24

Russia, in the name of President Vladimir Putin, sent condolences to the victims of the train blast.

- Russia announced on April 25 that Russia, as its first stage relief effort, would provide North Korea with 10 tons of medical supplies, 1,000 blankets and 85 tents (for 10-30 people)

* A transport plane carrying relief goods landed at Sunan airport in Pyongyang on April 27

* Russia, as its second stage of relief effort, will supply construction materials to the North via railroads


- Canada announced its plan to provide 100,000 Canadian dollars(74,000 U.S. dollars) through the Red Cross


- European Commission decided on April 23 to provide 200,000 euros(240,000 U.S. dollars) via the Danish Red Cross


- Germany, in the name of its chancellor, sent a telegram of condolences to North Korea

- It plans to provide 300,000 dollars in aid to the North

In addition, other countries such as France, Ireland, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Greece, Singapore, Syria, Cambodia, Austria and Norway announced their plan to provide relief aid to the North

International Organization

International organizations will provide a combined 2million dollars in aid to the North. Various international organizations are joining relief aid efforts such as United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO), Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Overseas NGOs

12 overseas NGOs including Caritas Germany, L.A. Korean Association, Dandong Korean Association pledged to provide a combined 470,000 dollars in aid to the North