Korean Film Star Jang Dong Gun Heads to Laos
South Korean movie star Jang Dong Gun (center) recently visited Ban Houayhoy, a village in Laos that lost much of its rice crop last September to floods brought on by Typhoon Ketsana. WFP is making sure that the villagers have enough to eat until their next harvest in October.
Jang Dong Gun meets Noi (left), a young girl whose family's rice crop was washed away by the typhoon. Her father is often away from the village in search of work, leaving her to look after her two younger brothers.
To date, WFP has distributed close to 3,000 metric tons of rice to victims of Typhoon Ketsana. More than 135,000 people received food aid in the first three months following the disaster.
One bag contains 30kg of rice, enough to feed an adult for nearly two months. With their immediate food needs taken care of, families can focus on rebuilding their lives.
Small children are particularly vulnerable in times of crisis. Chronic malnutrition rates in Laos are already at 50% in rural areas.
Jang Dong Gun talks with children involved with a campaign to spread awareness about unexploded munitions, a major hazard in Laos where the government estimates they have caused over 655 injuries and 279 deaths over the past 30 years. Over a fifth of the accidents were farming-related and over half of the victims were children.
Over 180,000 people in Laos suffered damage when Typhoon Ketsana struck in September 2009. WFP started emergency food distributions just two days after the storm hit. Korean actor and WFP Ambassador Against Hunger Jang Dong Gun recently visited communities affected by the typhoon to meet with families working to get back on their feet.