04/05/2019, 09.56
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Seoul, fire devastates the east coast: one dead and over 4,200 displaced people

The government mobilizes all available resources. The fire broke out along a Goseong county road and extended to the cities of Sokcho, Gangneung and Donghae. At 11 this morning, the flames had burned 525 hectares of forest and destroyed more than 200 between houses and buildings.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A devastating fire has engulfed the forests and mountains along the east coast of South Korea, causing one death, at least 35 wounded, more than 4,200 displaced people and damage to numerous buildings. The government has declared the national emergency and, on the orders of President Moon Jae-in, is mobilizing all available resources to tame the flames.

According to reports from the Gangwon fire brigade headquarters, the fire broke out along a road in Goseong County, about 210 kilometers northeast of Seoul, around 7:17 pm yesterday. Driven by strong southern winds that blew at speeds of up to 35.6 meters per second, in a few hours the flames reached the nearby cities of Sokcho, Gangneung and Donghae.

To contain the emergency, the authorities have mobilized a total of over 13 thousand rescuers, firefighters, soldiers and police officers from all over the country. More than 872 tankers are used in the operations. The fire agency also plans to mobilize 51 helicopters, of which 13 are military.

The Gangwon control center states that at 11 this morning, the flames had burned 525 hectares, or 5.25 million square meters of forest, and destroyed more than 200 homes and buildings. Roads and railways in the region are closed, as are 52 schools and other public facilities. The Interior Ministry says that much of the fire at Goseong has been contained and more than 50% of the fire in Inje and Gangneung has been under control since noon.

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