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[Newsmaker] Only 28% of school buildings reinforced for earthquake in Korea: lawmaker

Only 28 percent of schools in Korea have undergone earthquake-resistant construction, and it will take over a decade for all the buildings to be reinforced a lawmaker said Friday.

According to the data Rep. Kim Hyun-ah of Liberty Korea Party received from the Education Ministry, only 28.1 percent of 61,670 schools have undergone seismic reinforcement in Korea.


By region, 17.2 percent of schools in Jeju were reinforced to withstand earthquakes; 20.3 percent in North Jeolla Province; 21.3 percent in North Gyeongsang Province; 21.9 percent in South Jeolla Province, 23.7 percent in Gangwon Province and 27.8 percent in North Chungcheong Province.

An estimate of 4.25 trillion won ($3.75 billion) will be needed, and it will take about 12 years for all schools in Korea to be rehabilitated for earthquakes, to be completed in 2029, the lawmaker said.

Recalling past earthquakes which left visible damage to school buildings, Rep. Kim urged the Education Ministry to speed up the reinforcement plan.

“From the two earthquakes, the need for reinforcement of school buildings was highlighted but the percentage of schools that have been rehabilitated is far behind,” Rep. Kim said.

“The ministry should make bold budget plans to quickly finish the seismic reinforcement work to protect children from earthquakes.”

In September 2016, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang Province, recording the strongest earthquake in Korea in decades. A year later, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit Pohang in the same province in November.

By Jo He-rim (