In the wake of the Sewol ferry disaster, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced on Tuesday that it will increase the current disaster medical treatment budget by 9.5 times by next year.
The ministry will set aside a total of 20.8 billion won ($20.4 million) for emergency medical care next year, increasing the number of hospitals, ambulances and medical staff. The current budget is 2.2 billion won.
The 18 regional emergency centers nationwide will be turned into hospitals that specialize in disaster medical operations, the ministry said. An additional 17 hospitals will be built for emergency disaster care.
The number of disaster medical assistance teams will be increased to more than 105 from the current 65, the ministry said.