South Korea Pledges $2 Million to Hawaii

(AP) -- South Korea has pledged $2 million in humanitarian assistance for Hawaii to help respond to damage from the fires in Maui.

Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Tuesday that it "will purchase drinking water, food, blankets and other relief supplies through local Korean marts and deliver them to the Hawaii state government." It also will donate cash "to local relief groups for the Hawaii state government to use in dealing with the aftermath of the fires."

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the alliance between South Korea and the United States. The aid was announced days before a planned summit Friday at Camp David among President Joe Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeo and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The statement from South Korea also addressed the "deepening humanitarian crisis" triggered by damage from climate change-caused fires, saying it will "take part in the efforts to resolve global issues and will continue to contribute to disaster relief operations overseas in order to fulfill its vision to become a global pivotal state."

The exact cause of the fires in Maui hasn't been determined, but a number of factors, including high winds, low humidity and dry vegetation, likely contributed, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, adjutant general for Hawaii State Department of Defense, has said. Experts also said climate change is increasing the likelihood of more extreme weather.