Singer IU, left, and national football team captain Son Heung-min/Courtesy of CJ E&M and Hana Financial Group

Celebrities keep donating to victims of Gangwon fires

A series of massive mountain fires struck the country’s eastern regions on April 4, killing at least two people and forcing thousands of residents there to flee their homes.

In response, the government declared a state of national disaster in Gangwon Province. In addition to the government response, the private sector stepped up to give a helping hand to the victims.

Many celebrities also took part in the efforts by visiting the region or making donations. But some of them including singer IU and national football team captain Son Heung-min have come under criticism albeit for dubious reasons.

K-pop star IU was one of the quickest contributors, donating 100 million won ($88,000) on April 5 to ChildFund Korea, which focuses on assisting unprivileged children.

But some took issue with this, stating that few children were affected by the catastrophe. Pointing out that IU is a frequent benefactor of the charity, they claimed that she should have given the money to more relevant organizations.

Such criticism prompted ChildFund Korea to post a statement defending one of the country’s most popular K-pop artists.

The charity said that four families it gave support to lost their houses in the fire, and many other families were evacuated to shelters, which means there are a lot of children in need of assistance.

In the case of Tottenham Hotspur striker Son, who contributed 150 million won, some netizens contend that the amount was too small from the perspective of a highly-paid football player in the English Premier League.

The donation is equivalent to Son’s weekly salary.

Son, who is from Gangwon Province where the fires occurred, has not responded.

In the meantime, included in the list of contributors are K-pop girl group Blackpink, actress Kang So-ra, K-pop group Sistar’s former member Soyou, 2PM member Junho, top hallyu star So Ji-sub, veteran actor Lee Jung-jae, and Girl’s Generation members Seohyun and Yuri.


The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.