Man, 91, Rides Ambulance 90 Miles to Korea Reunion

North, South reunions set to begin tomorrow
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2014 1:30 AM CST
Kim Sun-kyum, 91, is helped by a Red Cross official as he arrives to take part in family reunions with his North Korean family members at a hotel in Sokcho, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014.   (AP Photo/Yonhap, Lee Ji-eun)
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(Newser) – The first North-South Korea reunions in three years are in tentative motion, with South Koreans set to tomorrow meet relatives they haven't seen in six decades. With so much time elapsed, it's no wonder that the average age of the 82 South Koreans who will be the first to cross into North Korea tomorrow is 84; 14 are confined to a wheelchair. One 91-year-old traveled 90 miles by ambulance to get to the eastern port of Sokcho, where they're undergoing orientation on what to expect in the North. Another chosen participant, 83, had to give up his spot today over health issues.

The AFP reports 58 family members traveled with them to provide physical and emotional support. They may need it. The AP describes an "intensely anxious moment" for those waiting to board the buses that will take them to North Korea's Diamond Mountain, as fears persist that the North could still cancel the reunions—hundreds are planned between Thursday and Tuesday—as it has threatened. Kim Se-rin, 84, last saw his sister 63 years ago, and has long envisioned how he will greet her: "I will first hug her and tell her that I thank her for having lived so long. Then, I will ask her when our father and mom passed away and when our sister and brother died." (Read more North Korea stories.)

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