Celebrity donations to the grieving families and survivors of the Sewol ferry disaster have reached a current total of around 1.6 billion won (over US$1,500,000), according to media reports. Charity donations made by celebrities are dominating the headlines, with search engines reporting a huge spike in the amount of searches made for celebrities who have pledged money to the cause.
Stars of sports and entertainment have been making sizable contributions to various organizations, including the Community Chest of Korea charity, and the stricken community of Ansan, the city in the suburbs of Seoul where most of the victims were students. Some celebrities have even sent money directly to the families involved in the tragedy.
Among the actors making donations are Kim Soo Hyun, who donated 300 million won (about US$290,000) Cha Seung Won, Song Seung Heon and Ha Ji Won, who all donated 100 million won (around US$96,000). Smaller, but still very considerable sums were contributed by other actors.
Sports stars have also been quick to pledge money, including former figure skater Kim Yuna, LA Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun Jin and soccer star Park Chu Young, all of whom pledged 100 million won each in support.
Earlier in the day, YG Entertainment, headed by Yang Hyun Suk, announced that it would also be donating 500 million won (approximately US$480,000) in financial aid. A number of other musicians have also pledged money.
A spokesperson for the Community Chest of Korea assured the public that the funds would be used appropriately. The spokesperson said, “We would like to confirm that all donations will be used in a proper manner. We will be very transparent with our records. The money will all be used to help the families of the victims.”