May 17 (UPI) -- The South Korean government has decided to send $8 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea, days after Pyongyang claimed the country is experiencing extreme drought.
The aid will not be delivered directly but will be channeled to various United Nations agencies, including the World Food Program and UNICEF, Yonhap news agency reported Friday.
The funds will go toward providing nutrition for North Korean children and pregnant women, according to the report.
Seoul said the decision was arrived at after accounting for public opinion in the South in response to North Korean statements of a pending food crisis.
In addition to supporting international humanitarian efforts, South Korea's unification ministry said it will review possibilities of "direct aid" to the North.
South Korea previously pledged $8 million in humanitarian assistance in September 2017, but the aid was never delivered amid record-high tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
In a separate statement issued Friday, the unification ministry said the government has approved a request from South Korean business executives who seek to visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the jointly operated factory park in the North that was shuttered in 2016.
The ministry said the visit was approved on the grounds of "protecting the private property of [South Korean] citizens."
The petition that was approved was filed on April 30 and was signed by 193 South Korean business executives and eight members of parliament. It is the first official approval since the suspension of operations in February 2016.
South Korea is not the only country stepping up to assist North Korea with food aid.
Quoting Russian embassy officials, Tass news agency reported this week Russia supplied Pyongyang with 2,298 tons of wheat flour in April.
Russia may have also grounded a Russian-flagged ship, Bella, for violating North Korea sanctions.
The ship's operator offered its services for aid transportation, but the government has declined the offer, according to Tass.