North Korean administration has decided to host reunions of families who had been separated by the Korean War, marking the first such initiative in last three years. 88 people from North Korea and 93 people from South Korea have been allowed to meet and greet their family members for 3 consecutive days each. Most of the families will be meeting for the first time after 65 years.
The initiative was started at the turn of the millennium and till date 20 rounds had been successfully completed with participation of over 20,000 people from both sides. Families started to pour in for registration with majority having no contact details. Over 132,000 had registered for the reunion process with the Red Cross since 1988 in South Korea out of which half have already died. 36,000 applicants are aged 80 or more while 12,000 are said to be above 90.
The whole ceremony is organised in such a way that the participants do not require to walk much as many are on wheelchairs. They have been allowed to hold private lunch sessions-a facility which was absent in previous events.
Ever since the war ended with truce, both the sides had banned their citizens from crossing the border to visit relatives or even contacting them without prior permission. The event has come after a gap of three years during which North Korea had expanded his nuclear and ballistic missile program which had virtually cut it from the rest of the world. Red Cross in South Korea has issued proper guidelines detailing the do’s and don’ts.