North Korea and South Korea are physically separated by a state-imposed border, also known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Families separated by the border have had no means of communicating since the Korean War of 1950-53, with no exchanges of letters, telephone calls or emails allowed between the two Koreas.
The most recent family reunion of separated families took place sometime in February 2014. A total of 22,000 people from both Koreas have participated in past reunions. About 71,000 South Koreans — more than half of them 80 or older — remain on a waiting list for a chance to meet with relatives in the North. South Korean participants are selected by lottery. It is unclear how the North chooses its candidates. Of those on the waiting list, 3,800 die each year without fulfilling their dreams.
It is sad to see how these families are separated by a man-made border when in actuality, nothing should really be stopping them from seeing their family members.
While physically separated, there is an enduring connection that ties the separated families together even after all these years – love.