Members of Korea Disaster Relief Team and a rescue dog pose before departing for Haiti in a ceremony at Incheon International Airport, Friday.
/ Korea Times
By Oh Young-jin
A Korean team of 25 rescue workers, led by Kang Cheol-soo, commander of National 119 Rescue Services, was sent to the earthquake-stricken country of Haiti, Friday.
They are part of a 41-member team organized by the state-run Korea International Cooperation Agency. The Health and Welfare Ministry also sent a medical unit of two emergency doctors, one surgeon and three nurses.
Kang's team is bringing along two rescue dogs and high-tech equipment.
They will be staying in Haiti for at least 10 days, using detection equipment and the two dogs to rescue those buried alive and recover bodies.
The two dogs are Baekdu, a five-year-old, and Mani, a three-year-old.
Baekdu is a veteran of the team's K-9 unit, which has participated in international rescue operations 22 times. When Sichuan Province, China, was hit by an earthquake in 2008, Baekdu found six bodies. This will be Mani's first overseas operation.
The team carries several pieces of high-tech equipment, including small mobile cameras that can be wire-controlled and radars for detecting victims.
The Korean rescue team has been participating in international search, rescue and recovery efforts ever since a big earthquake in Turkey in 1997, where it rescued one person and recovered 292 bodies.
Departing from Incheon International Airport, Kang said, "Our primary task is to save people's lives and help Haiti recover from this disaster."
Meanwhile, Seoul City Hall decided to send $100,000 together with emergency items - food and daily necessities. The money was sent through the branch of the International Red Cross in Seoul. Korea has donated $1 million at the government level.
Meanwhile, President Lee Myung-bak said the members of the G20 have agreed to closely cooperate on the matter.
"The G20 countries contacted one another and agreed to aid Haiti," Lee said during a meeting with the leaders of the country's top 30 conglomerates. "I believe the incident calls for international attention in restoring the country and saving lives."