To thank the Native Americans of the Navajo Nation for their service as ‘code talkers’ so many decades ago, the government of South Korea government sends 10,000 N95 masks and almost 4 tons of supplies.
South Korea has never forgotten the Native American contributions
When the South Korean government learned that the Navajo Nation had been suffering infection rates of COVID-19 to rival that of New York City, it shipped them 10,000 masks and 3.9 tons of other PPE and supplies to recognise and honour their service seven decades years ago to the East-Asian nation. — reported GoodNewsNetwork
During the Korean War around 800 members of the Navajo Nation used their native language as an unbreakable code for radio messages, ensuring complete secrecy around any military movements by the United States, an ally to South Korea. While this little-known story in the famous ‘police action’ that was the Korean War often goes untold, the South Koreans have never forgotten the Native American contribution.
South Korea sends face masks to US veterans to mark 70th anniversary of war’s start
This consignment of masks and supplies to the Navajo Nation was the latest in a series of humanitarian shipments from South Korea to foreign veterans ahead of the 70th anniversary of the June 25 start of the war that pitted the United States and the South against the communist-backed North.
South Korea has sent 500,000 face masks to help American veterans fight the coronavirus in honor of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War.
The ministry said it will later distribute 500,000 more masks via overseas missions to Korean War veterans in 21 other countries including Britain, Canada and Turkey that participated in the war under the auspices of the United Nations.
The government is providing the 1 million protective masks "to the ageing U.N. veterans of the Korean War to mark the 70th anniversary and to recognize their service and sacrifice,” the ministry said in a press release. It said the veterans’ average age is 88.
Why has the Navajo Nation been so hard-hit by coronavirus?
Navajo Nation leaders announced last month that it had the highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate in the United States, outpacing even New York. The grim statistic highlights the historical failings of the US government, Navajo leaders say.
There were 4,794 cases out of the Navajo Nation’s 173,000 residents as of Monday, according to Navajo Nation authorities, and that number could rise as testing increases, and at least 157 people have died.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a press release that "14.6% of our citizens have been tested so far. The Navajo Nation continues to test at a higher rate per capita than any state in the country."
The Navajo Nation government has issued emergency measures: Masks are required in public, and total lockdown curfews are implemented over the weekends to inhibit movement in an effort to stem the virus’ spread.
Compounding the problem are the high rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity on the reservation.
About 30% of homes on the Navajo Nation are also without running water. This presents challenges to meet Centers for Disease Control guidelines, including the thorough washing of hands.
The Navajo Nation is a 71,000 square kilometre (27,413 square mile) semi-autonomous territory spanning three US states – Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. It essentially serves as a reservation for the over 350,000 Navajo people who live there.
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