South Korea sends anti-malaria supplies to North Korea

South Korea announced on Monday that it has approved a request by a civic organization to send anti-malaria supplies to North Korea.

The move will allow a group called the Korean Sharing Movement to deliver pieces of ultrasonic diagnostic equipment to North Korea next Wednesday, Yonhap News reports. Under current law, South Koreans must get the government's endorsement before meeting with North Koreans and before providing aid.

The imposed sanctions on North Korea are in retaliation for the March sinking of a South Korean warship and the November shelling of a South Korean border island. The two attacks killed 50 South Koreans and raised public animosity against the country. Despite the attacks, Seoul has selectively approved humanitarian and medical aid to North Korea.

This aid comes just days after South Korea's private relief agencies delivered 400 tons of flour to North Korea to help relieve chronic food shortages in the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of the world's population live in areas at risk for malaria transmission in 109 countries and territories. The World Health Organization estimates that malaria caused between 190 and 311 million clinical episodes and between 708,000 and 1,003,000 deaths in 2008. Malaria is the 5th leading cause of death from infectious diseases worldwide.