Commentary: Why was wealthy, developed Seoul so unprepared for this 12 months’s monsoon rains?

The query many have requested within the aftermath is how a rustic with such superior expertise, boasting cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturing and a burgeoning area programme, might fail to handle elementary issues like housing and drainage. Though this 12 months’s rains had been exceptionally heavy, seeing as monsoon rains happen yearly, why wasn’t town ready?


To reply that, it’s instructive to return to the final time summer season rains prompted widespread flooding in Seoul. In July 2011, harmful flooding led town to reevaluate its water administration programs and confront rising local weather dangers.

In keeping with town authorities, rains of 30mm or extra per hour could cause disasters like floods. Rains of that quantity have occurred 3.4 occasions yearly on common over the previous 50 years. In 2011, there have been eight such downpours, adopted by 9 in 2013.

To adapt to this rainier future, town revamped its drainage and catastrophe prevention programs. The federal government added drainage pipes in low-lying areas to forestall flooding brought on by floor runoff. It expanded programs of evacuation warning for households in flood-prone areas and made plans to relocate semi-underground housing items.

The coverage prioritisation of buttressing town for the consequences of local weather change took a distinct course in recent times. The town’s finances for water administration and catastrophe prevention elevated from 431.7 billion received (US$326 million) in 2012 to 616.8 billion received in 2019. The finances was then minimize to 534.1 billion received in 2020 and 509.9 billion received in 2021.

These adjustments coincide with political reshuffle, after left-wing Mayor Park Gained- died by obvious suicide in 2020 amid accusations of sexual misconduct. He was changed by conservative Oh Se-hoon, who had additionally served as mayor from 2006 to 2011.

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When Oh took workplace, he redirected finances funds away from initiatives Park had spearheaded, and flood prevention was among the many initiatives that misplaced out.

Artmotion Asia

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