Gyeonggi governor slams central government for ‘slow’ response
The government and the ruling party seek to declare nine regions hard-hit by the recent torrential rains as special disaster areas eligible for financial and administrative aid, officials said Wednesday.
Unprecedented downpours last week in southern Seoul and the central part of the country left more than 50 people dead or missing.
“At a meeting with the ruling Grand National Party, we discussed steps to declare these nine regions as special disaster areas,” Public Administration and Security Minister Maeng Hyung-kyu told reporters.
“A total of 20 regions in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Busan have been selected as areas eligible for government restoration support. Nine of them meet many of the requirements for special disaster areas.”
Fire fighters are mobilized to help restoration work in a flood-hit riverside park in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap News)
Once a region is declared as a special disaster zone, additional money from state coffers will be allocated to the region so that the financial burden for the provincial government responsible for restoration work can be eased.
As soon as detailed examinations on the damaged areas are over, the government plans to declare these areas as special disaster zones. Officials said some more regions could also be designated as special disaster zones.
“As aberrant weather conditions have persisted, we plan to expand the disaster research center and introduce a disaster management system that will be on standby on a daily basis. We will also draw up measures including one to enhance disaster prevention efforts,” Maeng said.
Meanwhile, Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo criticized the “slow” administrative procedures in disaster relief efforts.
“The ‘slow’ administration has continuously faced such flood damages. The declaration of special disaster areas should be made quickly before the mid-August,” Kim said during his visit to the affected areas in Dongducheon City.
“For restoration work, we need emergency support as well as aid tailored to meet the needs of each affected area. All these should come at the same time, but in our system, it happens separately,” he said.
“This is all because of the central government’s slow administrative procedures. It should pay close attention to the voices of the people working at the scenes and make efforts to offer proper and timely aid for them.”
In related news, the government said that it would declare five areas hit by the heavy rain from July 7-16 as special disaster areas. The areas are Miryang City and Hadong, Sancheong, Cheongdo, and Wanju Counties.
According to the government, Miryang suffered damage amounting to 20 billion won ($18.8 million) while Hadong, Cheongdo, Wanju and Sancheong suffered damage worth 13.2 billion won, 10.7 billion won, 6.7 billion won and 6.5 billion won, respectively.
By Song Sang-ho (email@example.com)