Emergency Relief and Reconstruction Assistance
Much of the aid that Korea received prior to the start of the decades of economic and social development in the early 1960s consisted of emergency relief and aid for postwar reconstruction. It included emergency aid provided by the United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK) to ensure the social and economic stability of Korea; aid that the newly created republican government of Korea began to receive from Washington; and bilateral and multilateral forms of aid from the United States, the United Nations (UN) and UN-affiliated organizations in the immediate aftermath of the Korean War.
More specifically, the emergency relief and reconstruction assistance received originated from the Government and Relief in Occupied Areas (GARIOA) of the USAMGIK; the US Economic Cooperation Act that was enacted to ensure the reconstruction of Europe after World War II; and from Civil Relief in Korea (CRIK) and the UN Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA) and other affiliated multilateral organizations (funded for the most part by the United States). This type of aid also includes consumer and industrial goods as well as surplus agricultural produce from the United States provided under its Mutual Security Act (MSA) and via its International Cooperation Agency (ICA) and Public Law (PL) 480.
Much of this assistance consisted of supplies of consumer goods (e.g., food, clothing, fuels, medicines, etc.) and raw materials for basic manufacturing. UNKRA aid, which began in the late 1950s, focused on providing resources and investments for restoring and building public infrastructure for industries, education, and healthcare; it sought primarily to satisfy basic needs and restore Korea’s basis for production to pre-war levels.
Until the official end of the UNKRA-based postwar reconstruction projects in 1960, Korea received emergency relief and reconstruction assistance amounting to USD 15.6 in total, including: USD 409.4 million in GARIOA aid (1945 to 1948); USD 201.8 million in ECA aid (1949 to 1953); USD 457.4 million in CRIK aid (1950 to 1956); and USD 122.1 million in UNKRA aid (1951 to 1960). Of these, official development assistance (ODA) programs took up a USD 1.1907 billion portion.
Emergency relief and reconstruction assistance further includes postwar reconstruction aid provided by private charity organizations abroad throughout the 1960s. Foreign charity organizations donated a total of USD 11 million via the UN during the Korean War, and also goods and resources worth USD 361 million from the end of the Korean War in 1953 until 1970 or so via nongovernmental organizations active in Korea at the time.
Hong Ikje, “The History of Activities of Foreign Voluntary Agencies,
” Compilation Committee on the 40 Years of KAVA
(Korea Association of Voluntary Agencies), Nov. 1994, pp. 66 and 218.
Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2004. Study on Development Aid and Cooperation for South Korea: Size, Scope and Exemplary Effects. Seoul.