2022) T's Pick
2022) T's Pick
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  • 승인 2023.01.17 11:45
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Police and rescue workers were dispatched around the scene of the accident in Itaewon where a massive crush disaster occurred as crowds flocked over the weekend ahead of Halloween. Photo: VoaKorea

Agust - The August Seoul Floods···the cause of accident is climate change

In a single day, an immense amount of heavy rainfall fell on Seoul, with Dongjak-gu recording 381.5mm of rainfall. This is the most amount of rainfall ever recorded in all 105 years of Seoul's weather recording history since 1907. Considering that the average precipitation in the central region of Korea during the 2022 monsoon season (from June 25 to July 26) was 378.3mm, the amount of rainfall that fell on Dongjak-gu in a single day was enormous. This historic level of precipitation caused significant damage, including 14 deaths, 6 missing, and 2280 victims from 1,379 households. Many Koreans became more appreciative and fearful of the effects of climate change after they saw the torrent of water fall from the sky above the nation's capital. Since then, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has been devising plans to prevent a similar disaster from occurring in the future. For example, a proposal has been put forth to use deep underground drainage tunnels (which are put in place to prepare for heavy rainfall) as roads instead of just limiting them for rainwater draining purposes.

 

September - Cancellation of plans for a new state guest house

President Yoon Suk-yeol announced that the administration will "withdraw its plan to build a new guesthouse." The issue of relocating the official presidential office and residence from the Blue House has been embroiled in controversy since President Yoon took office. When the news broke out that the government was planning to spend 87.9 billion won to construct a new state guest house, there was an outpour of criticism stating that the project was a "waste of taxpayer money." This amount far exceeded the expected budget of 49.6 billion won that was estimated to be required for the relocation of the presidential office and residence. In fact, it was so large that the government could have used that money to provide about 10 million won to each of the 10,000 victims of the major floods that took place across the country. In a public statement, President Yoon said, "after returning the Blue House to the public, we planned to create a new space that could be used for state events befitting of our nation's status that would become a future asset for the country, not an asset of the presidential office. However, we regret not being able to fully explain this purpose." President Yoon cancelled the plan altogether, stating, "the budget will be withdrawn immediately, and we will make sure to prevent any further concerns."

 

October - Daejeon Hyundai Premium Outlet Fire, prolonged suspension of business

A fire resulting from an explosion in the basement floor of Daejeon's Hyundai Premium Outlet ended up killing four workers. One victim was found in critical condition, and 119 rescue teams had to carry out rescue operations to find the three other workers who were missing. The fire was extinguished at 1:10 pm, about five hours after the initial explosion. The Daejeon Metropolitan Police Agency set up a fire investigation team to investigate the cause of the fire. Kim Yeon-soo, a detective chief at the Daejeon Yuseong Police Station, said, "although we have secured video footage that roughly matches the witness's testimony, we will need to analyze the entire video recording and identify where the fire initially broke out." Meanwhile, Hyundai Department Store announced that it would work to accurately determine the damage costs incurred by stores in the outlet and provide adequate compensation. On October 5th, the group announced its compensation and support plans for its partners and their employees as well as for the outlet's contractors.

 

November - At least 200 casualties occurred in Itaewon's Halloween crowd

Numerous deaths resulted from the crush accident that occurred in Itaewon, where large crowds gathered to celebrate Halloween. Fire authorities stated that more than 200 people were killed or injuredᅠin the accident. Among the 200 casualties, 158 people have died as of this writing. It was reported that the majority of the people who died were women in their 20s, and one girl in her teens was among the patients who suffered cardiac arrests. President Yoon Suk-yeol described the incident as a "terrible disaster" and announced a period of national mourning until the incident was taken care of. On November 5th (the last day of the national mourning period), several candlelight vigils were held in downtown Seoul. While liberal and conservative groups voiced different opinions, they were united in mourning and paying tribute to the victims.


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