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Seoul Likely To Be Declared As Special Disaster Zone After Halloween Stampede Tragedy

The capital of Seoul is likely to be designated as a special disaster zone after the deadly stampede in its Itaewon district on Saturday night, the mayor said.

South Korea

Image: AP


The capital of Seoul is likely to be designated as a special disaster zone following the deadly stampede in its Itaewon district on Saturday night, according to the mayor of the South Korean capital.

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said on Sunday that he will hold talks with the central government about designating the area of the capital as a special disaster zone, thus making it eligible for several support schemes in the wake of the tragedy that killed at least 154 people.

The mayor announced his plans after he returned from his Europe trip and visited the scene of the accident. "We will have to discuss further, but we should be able to produce ways to support even non-Seoul residents when the entire capital is designated as a special disaster zone," Oh said, according to Yonhap news agency.

"I pray for the souls of the deceased who have passed away. I have no words to say to the deceased and the injured," Oh told journalists at Incheon International Airport. "It is terrible that many young people have lost their lives in the accident. I don't know how to console the parents who have lost their children. I express my deepest condolences to them,” he added. 

The mayor also vowed to deal with the aftermath of the tragic event and extend help to the families of the victims. "Handling the aftermath is very important. I will make sure there will be no inconveniences with the funeral procedures and do my best so that those who've been injured won't experience any difficulties in the treatment and recovery," he said.

South Korean president announces nationwide mourning period

Earlier on Sunday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol designated Seoul’s central ward of Yongsan, where Itaewon is situated, as a special disaster zone that will be eligible to receive financial aid from the central government. The President also announced that South Korea will be observing a week-long period of national mourning to grieve those who died in a stampede during the Halloween celebrations of Saturday in Itaewon.

“As president, who is responsible for the people’s lives and safety, my heart is heavy and I struggle to cope with my grief. The government will designate the period from today until the accident is brought under control as a period of national mourning and will place top priority in administrative affairs in recovery and follow-up measures,” Yoon said in a televised address.

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