For a few decades, Korean peninsula had seemed to be safe from the threat of earthquakes. However, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Gyeongju three weeks ago told us that it is no longer true. The strong earthquake did not just hit one city but also surrounding cities such as Daegu. People in Seoul even felt the shocks of the earthquake.
While more than 300 times of aftershock were recorded, a huge number of casualties have not been reported except for small and large injuries. It is such a stroke of luck in the midst of misfortunes. However the wisdom of the ancestors let us realize our inexperienced and unprepared situation. Despite some historical cultural assets such as Cheomseongdae, an old Korean Observatory from Silla dynasty, were slightly damaged, the overall structure of these properties are well-preserved. On the other hand, the modern buildings of 21st century could not endure the seismic outbreak.
Recently, there have been many accidents arousing attentions to people’s safety such as Sewol ferry disaster or 5.0-magnitude earthquake in Ulsan. Insensitivity or ignorance toward safety and inadequately prepared countermeasures were pointed out as exacerbating factor for these problem.In some way, roads full of cars in Chusok, Korean Thanks giving day ring a bell of those incidents. Even though many scientists anticipated possible aftershocks even as strong as 5 magnitudes, it could not stop people’s going down to their hometown.
“Korea is no longer being safe from the danger of earthquake.” This is not a recently aroused warning. From 4.9-magnitude earthquake in Chonnam three years ago, small scales of tremors have been reported, which clearly urges the need for systematic preventive measures for the earthquake. However, inadequate responses from the government such as late message from the Ministry of Public Safety and Security and no other measures taken for people living in Gyeongju have raised much concern and anger.
This year, thanks to the newly built dormitory at Ewha, more than 2,000 students can live in the dormitory. On the other hand, this can also urge the necessity of organized measures prepared for any possible dangers. It is true that safety measures for student have been reorganized and consolidated after continuous accidents. However, we are still not cautious enough. When you ask a student what they should do when they face earthquake, you may not be able to listen a satisfying answer.
Many scholars are expecting, and some assuring that there will be stronger earthquake in Korea. In this situation, if we stay ignorant to the dangers of these disasters, we may just have to face these inevitable and tremendous threats. The only thing we can minimize the aftermath would be two of these; Be aware of the possible dangers whether it is visible or not and always be prepared for the actual event.