The Korea Herald


Lee vows to revamp disaster prevention, raise safety bars


Published : Aug. 8, 2011 - 19:12

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President Lee Myung-bak on Monday vowed to revamp the national disaster prevention system and tighten safety standards, noting that last month’s deadly downpours could be repeated next year due to climate change.

“The government’s priorities include comprehensive reexamination of existing disaster-prevention systems and strengthening the safety and disaster prevention standards,” Lee said in his biweekly radio and Internet address.

“As part of this effort, various disaster prevention organizations will be instructed to establish effective cooperative systems among themselves. They will also be asked to come up with various anti-disaster scenarios dealing with climate change.”

The National Institute for Disaster Prevention, which will be expanded and reorganized, will spearhead research on disaster safety and seek preemptive measures against national disasters, Lee added.

“(The government) will comprehensively review the national safety and disaster prevention system and strengthen disaster prevention standards,” Lee said.

“A new system will be established for closer cooperation among disaster prevention institutions, and a variety of scenarios will be drawn up to prevent disasters due to climate change.”

Lee said the flood had made him realize that the existing disaster prevention system has already reached its limits.

“From urban planning to what kind of trees should be planted where, a comprehensive transformation has to take place. We also have to change our lifestyles in significant ways,” he said.

Lee pledged preferential assistance for those who lost their homes due to last month’s flooding.

He also mentioned his government’s four rivers refurbishment project and green growth strategies as part of efforts for climate control and flood prevention.

“It is fortunate that the government, through the ‘four rivers project,’ has been constructing four times as many anti-disaster facilities as the existing ones, preparing for a rainstorm that might come once in 200 years. Because of this project, many riverside areas were able to avoid the perennial flood damage,” he said.

Lee vowed to formulate “new anti-disaster criteria that fit this age of climate change,” while setting up comprehensive and long-range response measures.

The president also pledged efforts to curb inflation.

“It looks as if rises in the prices of staple vegetables like cabbage and radishes are especially bad. To stabilize prices, the government is currently supplying 60,000 tons of vegetables to the market,” he said.

“If it is not sufficient, further measures will be taken such as increasing imports.”

By Kim So-hyun (