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South Korean Gov't to Verify Extent of Quake Casualty, Inspect Major Infrastructure

by YuGee / Sep 14, 2016 06:45 AM EDT
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 06: Ko Yun-hwa, The Korea Meteorological Administration Administrator briefs seismic waves that were measured in South Korean cities, at the Korea Meteorological Administration center on January 6, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.

The government of South Korea announced on Tuesday that it will move promptly to verify the extent of damage caused by the strongest earthquake in the country's history and implement safety inspections of major infrastructure, Yonhap News reported.

The Ministry of Public Safety and Security's announcement comes following the country's recent magnitude 5.8 earthquake on Monday night. The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said that it was the strongest quake to ever hit South Korea.

In a press conference held in Seoul, the ministry mentioned its plans of sending experts and officials to Gyeongju, the epicenter of the earthquake, to study the cause and measure the overall casualty. The 15-member team will also probe any shortcomings in the government's actions that may have turned up after the quake and establish measures for post-earthquake relief and rehabilitation.

The ministry further mentioned that the government will provide a disaster relief fund to the city of Gyeongju in advance.

It also reported that based on the data gathered from emergency rescue authorities, 14 people have suffered minor injuries, of which eight were hospitalized, and 642 property damage claims have been reported up to this date.

However, the government reiterated that it is not yet at a phase to particularly implement plans in order to help those who are affected and that it will initially put efforts into precisely confirming casualties and damage to properties and facilities.

During a press conference held at the government complex in central Seoul, Seoul National University Professor Kim Jae-Hwan stated, "Considering the magnitude of the earthquake, the reported damage is relatively minor. This could mean either that the actual magnitude of the quake was smaller than first reported or that South Korea's buildings are earthquake-resistant to a certain extent."

Kim also said that the government has been preparing for earthquakes despite the fact that the country has lesser tremors than to its neighboring countries like Japan.

Lee Seung Woo, the ministry spokesman, promised to improve South Korea's disaster alert system so that essential information can be passed onto the public more quickly.

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