Wishing them to get back to their daily life ... conveying comfort and warmth in the end of the year

“Fire flied about like rain, and pine cones on fire fell from the trees. Frightened, the residents could not walk properly as their legs trembled, and they could not breathe well because of smoke from the fire.”

This was the scene where the forest fire started in April in Gangwon-do Province as described by Choi Won-yeong the Head of Yongchon 1-ri in Toseong-myeon, Goseong-gun. Within three days, the forest fire turned Gangwon-do and the eastern coast of Korea into a heap of ashes, resulting in three casualties and 1,300 victims. Particularly, there were great damages on the areas related to making a living such as residential areas and shopping centers. Due to the sudden disaster, the residents lost their places of living and are currently staying in temporary shelters; they are still subject to the harms from the disaster.

In preparation of the New Year, the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation helped the forest fire victims in Gangwon-do. It donated local gift cards worth one hundred million KRW to 655 households in Gangneung, Sokcho, and Donghae, including Goseong, through the local government offices. Local gift cards are vouchers published by local governments to activate local economy, and they can be used at specifically designated places such as traditional markets.

On Dec. 27, at 10:30 am, Lee Kang-min the Chief Director and the board members of the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation, visited Gangwon-do Provincial Office in Chuncheon. Jeong Man-ho the Vice Governor of Economy of Gangwon-do and officials greeted them. Jeong Man-ho the Vice Governor, who received the local gift cards, said, “80% of the total surface area of Gangwon-do is mountainous and clean, but it is often stricken by forest fires and typhoons. I’m so thankful to you for giving us good news in the end of this year.” Lee Kang-min the Chief Director made a promise to take the lead in carrying out volunteer services that share love, saying, “We hope our support will be of a help for resolving the difficulties in Gangwon-do.”

Lee Kang-min the Chief Director headed for Goseong-gun, where the damage was the most severe because it was the ignition zone. In Goseong-gun at 3 p.m., the donation ceremony was held in the presence of county officials and forest fire damage task force officials. Goseong gift cards were delivered to eight village heads from villages, including Bongpo-ri and Seongcheon-ri. Yang Won-mo the Vice Head of Goseong-gun said, “I’m deeply thankful to you for helping the forest fire victims in Goseong. Thanks to your support, small companies will be greatly encouraged;” he made a request to continue to help the victims until the damaged area gets entirely recovered.

The forest fire victims are overcoming difficulties and regaining hope of life like new buds appearing in a devastated forest. It is a critical time when the victims need warm interest and support from other people so that they can quickly get back on track with a healthy life in the cold weather.