Korea's Red Cross said Monday it collected more donations for disaster relief in Japan in the past two weeks than for any other natural disaster in the world amid an exceptional outpouring of sympathy here following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
As of Saturday, the Korean Red Cross collected a total of 21.3 billion won ($19.1 million), or 2 billion won more than the previous record of 19.3 billion won gathered in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. in 2005.
The relief agency launched a donation campaign for Japan three days after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan, unleashing a massive tsunami that has claimed more than 10,000 lives and left more than 17,000 people unaccounted for, according to Japanese police.
As that toll continues to rise, the Korean Red Cross is preparing to send relief supplies, such as instant noodles and other foods, on top of the $8 million it has already delivered to the Japanese Red Cross Society, a Korean Red Cross official said.
"(We) were surprised by the fast pace at which donations were collected from all levels of society," the official said. "Our geographic proximity (to Japan) seems to have had a large influence on the collection of such large amounts." (Yonhap)