President Park Geun-hye said Thursday that she would consider declaring South Korea’s southeastern areas hit hard by recent torrential rains special disaster zones.
The designation, if made, would make the affected areas eligible for additional government support, including up to 80 percent of the costs associated with the disaster.
“I will consider declaring a special disaster zone” after assessing damage caused by torrential rains that hit the country’s second-largest city of Busan and nearby areas on Monday, she said.
She made the comments as she toured areas hit by torrential rains that sparked landslides, disrupted rail services and temporarily halted the operation of a nuclear power plant.
Heavy downpours also left 13 people dead and one missing, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.
One of the hardest hit areas is Gijang, a county in Busan, which received a record 160 millimeters of rain per hour on Monday.
Also Thursday, the government and Park’s ruling Saenuri Party held a meeting and reached a consensus on declaring a special disaster zone, according to Cho Won-jin, a ruling party lawmaker who attended the session.
Park instructed officials to provide every possible support to those who suffered losses due to heavy rains, and to come up with fundamental anti-disaster measures to ensure similar damage does not recur, according to her office.
“It would be good to provide quick assistance to make sure every person can spend the holiday in their homes if possible,”
Park said, referring to the Chuseok holiday, the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving Day, which falls on Sept. 7. (Yonhap)