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South Korean naval ships carrying relief cargo depart for Philippines

Dec. 21, 2013 - 16:59 By 정주원
South Korean naval ships carrying water, food and medicine left the southern port city of Busan for the Philippines to support relief operations ongoing at the typhoon-stricken island nation, authorities said Saturday.

   The two-ship flotilla made up of amphibious landing ships -- the Sung In Bong and Bi Ro Bong -- left South Korea's largest port, carrying 260 crew members and various supplies, including 30 vehicles ranging from excavators, dump trucks and cranes.

   The ships are also taking 30 tons of supplies such as water, food and emergency rations for South Korean troops that have been tasked with relief efforts in the Philippines.

   The vessels, with a maximum displacement of 4,300 tons and a length of 112.4 meters from stem to stern, will arrive at the port of Cebu next Friday and pick up South Korean Army personnel to arrive by plane in the Southeast Asian nation.

   They will then sail to Tacloban, an area hardest-hit by Typhoon Haiyan last month.

   South Korea, meanwhile, agreed to dispatch 520 troops, including medics and engineers, to the Philippines for one year to carry out relief missions and provide humanitarian support there. The unit has been named Araw, which means blessing and hope in Tagalog.

   The dispatch comes four weeks after the Manila government asked Seoul to send troops to help with relief efforts.

   Beside the troops, South Korea has pledged US$20 million in aid to the Philippines to help assist with restoration efforts. (Yonhap News)