Public Concerns Raised by Consecutive Earthquakes
Public Concerns Raised by Consecutive Earthquakes
  • Reporter Gwak Jun-ho
  • 승인 2017.12.06 01:01
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▲ Earthquake of magnitude 5.4 occurred on Nov.15, incurring serious damange to infrastructure and buildings
An earthquake of magnitude 5.4 and its consecutive aftershocks have struck Pohang, near Heunghae-eup from Nov. 15 to the following week. According to the officials, no deaths have been reported since the earthquake rattled the southeastern coastal region. However, the series of earthquakes have brought about 1536 homeless and 57 injured citizens. The country’s second strongest earthquake on record since 1978 also left cracks and damage in walls at 110 elementary schools and 106 middle and high schools in the coastal region where the earthquake originated from. As the earthquake damaged schools and buildings chosen as the venues, the Ministry of Education postponed 2017 university entrance exam that was originally on Nov. 16, by a week, on safety concerns.
So far, South Korea had little concern about earthquake disaster as it had little seismic activity, unlike the neighboring Japan. However, the recent earthquake, followed by last year’s strongest ever recorded earthquake (magnitude of 5.8) occurred near Gyeongju, has started to raise public concerns over the safety of the country from earthquakes. There are many interpretations about the reason why South Korea became vulnerable to the threat of earthquake. One of the major opinions is that this year’s earthquake is the after effect of the last year’s earthquake in Gyeongju. By last year’s earthquake, there has been internal stress accumulated in northeast and southwest fault of the point where this year’s earthquake originated from. The geologists are putting forward their views that considering how there were over 40 big and small aftershocks only Nov. 16, this year’s earthquake occurred in the process of releasing such accumulation of stress. The academics claim that although it may be hard to presume, there will be big and small earthquakes happening for at least three years to release accumulation of stress.
To appease public concerns, Cho Jeong-sik, the representative of the ruling Democratic Party of South Korea, who heads the parliamentary land, infrastructure and transport committee, proposed a legislative plan to improve the earthquake-resistance of buildings and transport systems, nationwide. According to the plan, the government will be monitoring and improving buildings and infrastructure facilities aged 30 years or over.