S Korea ferry disaster: Celebrities send donations, aid and condolences

S Korea ferry disaster: Celebrities send donations, aid and condolences

As the entertainment industry remains effectively shut down and the nation continues to grieve for the victims of the Sewol ferry sinking, local and international celebrities have been stepping up efforts to help rescue and relief operations.

High-profile actor Song Seung-heon donated 100 million won (S$121,000) to the Red Cross on Saturday to aid relief work. Soon after, actor On Joo-wan donated 10 million won to the charity organisation.

"Song privately made his donation without notifying the agency. We found out later that he had donated 100 million won on his own," said Song's agency Will Entertainment on Sunday. "He had expressed deep grief over the ferry accident."

"Though the amount is incomparable to Song's contribution, I thought that one good deed must lead to another in times of hardships," On said through his agency. "I am sorry that I can't be of more help. If given the chance, I am willing to actively participate in relief efforts at the scene," he added.

Figure skater Kim Yu-na donated 100 million won to UNICEF Korea on Monday while actress Ha Ji-won also gave 100 million won toward aiding those affected by the recent tragedy.

Actor Jung Il-woo privately donated 30 million won to Hopebridge-Korea Disaster Relief Association, while an onsite volunteer revealed that actors Kang Dong-won, Yoo Ah-in and actress Song Hye-gyo had sent goods and supplies to Jindo through their agency UAA.

Actor Kim Bo-sung also contributed 10 million won to the Community Chest of Korea, the charity organisation said Tuesday.

Even the British child star Connie Talbot, who is scheduled to hold a live performance in Korea on April 23 and 27, announced through her Twitter account on Saturday that she will donate the proceeds from her concert toward ferry disaster aid.

"I'm leaving for Korea tomorrow at such a sad time to visit. Profits from the concert will be given towards the ferry accident," she wrote.

The singers and staff of the "Sing Kim Gwang-suk Again" concert held Saturday also decided to donate the proceeds toward providing aid to the families of the victims.

Some stars headed to Jindo to partake in rescue and relief efforts.

Actor Chung Dong-nam, the head of the Korea Rescue Federation and a former member of the Navy's Underwater Demolition Team, arrived on the scene with more than 50 volunteers and joined the rescue operations.

Comedian Kim Jeong-ku, who holds an industrial engineer divers' license, headed to the accident site as a civilian diver. Actress Park Min-young, the sister of Super Junior's Lee Teuk, joined the team of on-site volunteers as well.

"I am heading to Jindo with hopes that I can be of some help. Please pray for the safety of those missing and myself," Kim posted on his Facebook on Thursday. He participated in rescue efforts for three days and returned on Sunday.

Other artists expressed their condolences. They cancelled or delayed concerts, promotional events and album releases.

Singer Lee Jung cancelled two concerts scheduled for May 17 and 18, while veteran singer Lee Moon-sae postponed indefinitely the Cheonan concert to be held as part of his nationwide concert tour in May. Rock bands Monni and Jang Kiha and the Faces also cancelled their upcoming May concerts.

"We deemed it untimely to give a concert that was meant to entertain and bring happiness to the audience. We earnestly await news of survivors and express our deepest regrets to the victims and their families," Monni said on its official Twitter.

Popular boy band EXO has indefinitely postponed the release of its new EP "Overdose," halting all related promotional events. Other K-pop acts including boy bands Block B, Infinite, singers Lena Park, Kim Jin-ho, G-Na, Junggigo, and Ji-yeon from T-ara expressed their grief and respect by delaying new releases as well.

The entertainment community will most likely remain inactive in the coming weeks as the nation continues to pray for more than 200 missing passengers, mostly high school students, and crew.

Despite the ongoing search and rescue operations, no signs of survivors have been detected yet.

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