South Korea’s Death Toll Rises to 39 as President Blames Failure in Disaster Response

Web DeskJuly 17, 2023

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has attributed the rising death toll of 39 to authorities’ failure to follow disaster response rules as torrential rain continues to wreak havoc across the country. The downpours have been pounding South Korea’s central and southern regions since Thursday, reaching the peak of the rainy season that began in late June. As the number of casualties grows, questions are being raised about the government’s efforts to prevent and respond to flood damage.

Read More: Devastating Floods Worldwide Highlight Escalating Climate Crisis

Among the recent fatalities, a dozen bodies were discovered in a submerged underpass, adding to the concerns about South Korea’s disaster response capabilities. The deaths occurred in Cheongju, a central city, when a flash flood engulfed a tunnel after a river levee collapsed. Drivers who frequently used the road criticized the government for failing to close access to the underpass, despite widespread forecasts of floods.

South Korea has witnessed an increase in extreme weather patterns, resulting in devastating floods and loss of lives during recent rainy seasons. Last year, Seoul experienced the heaviest downpours in 115 years, causing extensive damage and claiming at least 14 lives. In response, the government pledged to take steps to better cope with climate change-induced disasters.

Following his return from an overseas trip, President Yoon convened an intra-agency meeting on disaster response and acknowledged the exacerbation of the situation due to poor management of vulnerable areas. He highlighted the importance of adhering to access control measures in dangerous areas and implementing preemptive evacuation plans. President Yoon stressed that failure to follow basic principles of disaster response compromises public safety.

President Yoon called for authorities to prioritize rescue efforts, provide support for recovery work, and assist affected families. He also emphasized the designation of flood-hit areas as special disaster zones. These measures aim to ensure swift assistance and aid in the recovery process for the affected regions.

South Korea is grappling with the devastating consequences of heavy rainfall, with the death toll reaching 39. President Yoon Suk Yeol has criticized authorities for their failure to adhere to disaster response rules, highlighting the need for effective preventive measures and prompt action during such incidents. As extreme weather events become more frequent, it is crucial for the government to enhance its disaster management strategies and prioritize the safety and well-being of its citizens.

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