"He called me at 8 a.m., saying the ship is sinking. Then I lost him."

Since then, Kim and hundreds of other relatives have spent 24 hours a day waiting helplessly for news in makeshift accommodation at a gymnasium in the port city of Jindo, the center of the rescue operation.

They live and grieve together, packed into the floor space on narrow, thin mattresses, taking to a communal microphone to vent their hopes and their anger at government officials over the seemingly slow pace of the rescue and patchy information.