Gov’t to de­clare rain-hit re­gions spe­cial disas­ter zones

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Jun Ji-hye jjh@ko­re­atimes.co.kr

The govern­ment is mov­ing to des­ig­nate spe­cial disas­ter zones in the na­tion’s in­te­rior, paving the way for state sup­port for the cen­tral re­gions that have seen losses of life and prop­erty dam­age due to deadly down­pours.

Prime Min­is­ter Chung Sye-kyun or­dered the rel­e­vant min­istries to re­view the ne­ces­sity of the dec­la­ra­tion of spe­cial disas­ter zones, dur­ing a Cabi­net meet­ing in Seoul, Tues­day.

“Min­istries should map out plans promptly, in­clud­ing the dec­la­ra­tion of spe­cial disas­ter zones, to sup­port re­gions hit hard by the lat­est tor­ren­tial rain,” Chung said. “Govern­ment of­fi­cials should con­tinue to stay on high alert to pre­vent ad­di­tional loss of life and min­i­mize prop­erty dam­age.”

The com­ments came as Seoul, and Gyeonggi and North Chungcheon­g prov­inces along­side other cen­tral ar­eas have been suf­fer­ing heavy rain since Satur­day.

The dec­la­ra­tion of the spe­cial disas­ter zones al­lows the ad­min­is­tra­tion to use state money to fi­nan­cially sup­port dam­age re­cov­ery. It also al­lows af­fected peo­ple to re­ceive state sup­port for their liveli­hood costs.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­tral Disas­ter and Safety Coun­ter­mea­sures Head­quar­ters un­der the Min­istry of the In­te­rior and Safety, 15 peo­ple have been killed, with 11 oth­ers still miss­ing as of 7:30 p.m., Tues­day.

Among the fa­tal­i­ties were a fam­ily of three, in­clud­ing a two-year-old boy, who were killed Mon­day af­ter a guest­house they op­er­ated was en­gulfed in a mud­slide in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Prov­ince.

The mas­sive down­pours have forced the sus­pen­sion of some train ser­vices, the shut­down of roads and the clo­sure of low-ly­ing bridges.

The disas­ter au­thor­i­ties are stay­ing vig­i­lant as the Korea Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ad­min­is­tra­tion (KMA) fore­cast that the in­te­rior will con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence rain­fall of 50 mil­lime­ters to 100 mil­lime­ters per hour un­til to­day, as the na­tion re­mains un­der the in­flu­ence of Ty­phoon Hagupit.

Ac­cord­ing to the state-run weather agency, the fourth ty­phoon of the sea­son was over wa­ters 280 kilo­me­ters north­east of China’s Fuzhou at 4 a.m., Tues­day.

The to­tal amount of rain­fall was fore­cast to reach up to 500 mil­lime­ters from Satur­day to Wed­nes­day.

The mon­soon sea­son in the cen­tral re­gions of the coun­try, which be­gan June 24 this year, has lasted 42 days as of to­day, the fourth-long­est on record.

The na­tion’s in­te­rior ex­pe­ri­enced the long­est rainy sea­son in 2013, last­ing 49 days. The KMA noted the on­go­ing tor­ren­tial rain that has also hit China and Ja­pan was caused by global warm­ing.

“Cli­mate changes in the Arc­tic and Siberia have led to mas­sive down­pours in East Asia in­clud­ing Korea,” a KMA of­fi­cial said.

Yon­hap

Res­i­dents in Eum­seong, North Chungcheon­g Prov­ince, look around their vil­lage, Tues­day, af­ter the down­pour since Satur­day trig­gered a se­ries of mud­slides and se­vere flood­ing.

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