Rep. of Korea/Typhoon Maemi: Anger mounts over lack of typhoon warnings

Report
from JoongAng Daily
Published on 19 Sep 2003
Many parts of the nation are still reeling from the effects of Typhoon Maemi as anger grows over accusations that the government did not do enough to warn the country of the storm's danger.

Residents of Ulleungdo off the eastern coast of the peninsula near Japan have expressed outrage, saying the authorities and national broadcasting stations offered little caution about the threat of a major typhoon.

UIleungdo suffered severe damage from the storm, which washed out the only large road and destroyed many homes. The residents grumbled that their island perhaps should become part of Japan.

In other parts of the nation recovery from the storm has been painfully slow. According to the central disaster recovery headquarters, total estimated economic damage from the typhoon and flood is 4.4 trillion won ($3.8 billion). The cost estimates of the damage have been rising steadily, and an official said it is likely the figure will go up even further.

Ulleungdo residents said national broadcasters should also be held responsible for the typhoon damage. They claimed the radio announcements made early Saturday morning said: "Korea is completely out of the typhoon."

But for those on Ulleungdo, the typhoon was just hitting them with its main fury, claiming three lives, destroying embankments and the road.

The Ulleungdo residents now say that damage increased because of the lack of concern by authorities and broadcasting stations. On Wednesday they sent letters of protest to the central government and KBS, a national broadcasting station.

"Weather agencies and authorities on the day of the typhoon beginning last Friday, did not properly warn us against the storm," said Seo Yeong-taek, a Ulleungdo fisherman whose home was totally destroyed by the typhoon. "Is Ulleungdo the part of some other nation?"

In Nam and Hwajeong villages, Yeosu, South Jeolla province, fish farms which are key to the local economy were devastated.

"Of the 100,000 fish I raised for the last two years, only several thousand are left," said Jeong Seong-jin, a Hwasan village resident. The Nam village head said all of its 530 fish farms are now washed away.

Flooding blamed for pink eye

Flooding caused by Typhoon Maemi has led to the rapid spread of contagious eye diseases, the National Institute of Health said yesterday.

The institute had reports that another 19,000 people were infected Wednesday. As of yesterday, roughly 146,400 people nationwide have suffered from the current outbreak of eye disease, the institute said.

Conjunctivitis or pink eye, known here as "Apollo eye disease," has spread rapidly in Gyeongsang regions and other areas flooded by the typhoon, the institute said.

In Busan, 860 were newly infected by the disease Tuesday, and another 1,200 on Wednesday. In North Gyeongsang province, 376 new patients were reported Tuesday, and another 1,058 were infected Wednesday, the institute said.

Clinics in Daejeon had 739 new patients Tuesday and 808 Wednesday. During the two days, 2,070 new patients were reported in South Gyeongsang province. The institute urges frequent hand washing.

by Hong Gwon-sam

JoongAng Daily:
(c)JoongAng Ilbo, The information provided in this product is for personal use only. None of it may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written permission of JoongAng Ilbo.