N.C.-based Relief Org. Loads 90 Tons of Aid on 747 Bound for Flood-Ravaged North Korea

"While much of the world's attention is on Pakistan, and rightfully so, the suffering of the people in North Korea cannot be overlooked," said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse.

Weeks of torrential rainfall have caused massive flooding in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) - wiping out thousands of homes and washing away crops. Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization, is responding and has chartered a Boeing 747 cargo jet to airlift some 90 tons of relief and medical supplies from Charlotte to the country where few are allowed access. 

WHAT:  Airlift of emergency aid to North Korea

WHEN:  Tue, Aug. 31

WHERE:  Charlotte Douglas International Airport
             4100 Yorkmont Road, Charlotte, NC, Gate 44 

MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES:

  • 5:30 - 10 a.m. - Loading of emergency aid onto Boeing 747 cargo jet
  • 10 a.m. - Interviews and photo opportunities
  • 1 p.m. - Anticipated departure of plane

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"Relations between the governments of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the U.S. have been strained, but despite our political differences, the people of North Korea are suffering from torrential floods that have ruined crops, washed out bridges and destroyed homes," said Franklin Graham. "While much of the world's attention is on Pakistan, and rightfully so, the suffering of the people in North Korea cannot be overlooked."

The airlift will include medicine, water filtration systems and PUR water kits, temporary shelter materials, blankets and hand tools. The plane will depart Charlotte at approximately 1 p.m. ET on Aug. 31 and arrive in Pyongyang on Sept. 2, where Samaritan's Purse representatives are on the ground to receive the relief supplies.

Graham has traveled three times to the country rarely visited by Americans, but his family has a long history in the DPRK, going back to 1934 when his mother, Ruth Bell Graham, attended a mission school in Pyongyang. His father, Billy Graham, visited in 1992 and 1994, meeting with President Kim Il Sung. Graham's most recent visit was in October of 2009 when he traveled to the DPRK and presented $190,000 in equipment and supplies for a new dental center being built in Pyongyang. He also visited a provincial hospital in the countryside where a generator system was installed by Samaritan's Purse, which is now providing electrical power where none previously existed. 

Since 1997, Samaritan's Purse has provided some $12 million in emergency assistance to the people of North Korea. The organization's response has focused primarily on medical and dental relief, including tuberculosis care, refurbishing several operating rooms and equipping a number of medical and dental facilities.

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