More than a dozen regions nationwide have been designated “special disaster zones” now eligible to receive state funds for recovery from the serious rain damage.
On Wednesday morning, the government designated 13 regions as “special disaster zones.” The 13 include central Sejong, Cheongju and Mungyeong cities, as well as Yecheon-gun County in Gyeonsangbuk-do Province. The designations were made even before the completion of an overall investigation into the scale of the damage suffered. An official at the safety ministry told Arirang News the reason behind the swift decision.
“First, the government has a strong determination to take responsibility for restoration in the affected regions. Second, it hopes that with the designations, more people will be aware of the aftermath, and thus volunteer to help those in the affected regions. These are some of the reasons that the government decided to respond pre-emptively.”
The director general added that members of a special response team have been dispatched to 17 cities and provinces to help prevent further human casualties from the torrential rain, and conduct investigations. The members will check on emergency repairs to roads, walls and river banks, and will also assess damages and conduct further on-site analyses.
With the designation, the special disaster zones can now receive state funds to pay for restoration work and repairs. Up to 80% of the costs will be paid for by the central government. Not only that, but also varied financial help will be offered to individuals, including tax relief and discounts on medical insurance fees and utility bills among others.
“For things that can be repaired quickly, we hope to finish the work within the year. And for those that will take longer to fix like bridges, for example, we hope to complete their restoration by the end of 2025.”
For the areas that haven’t been designated special disaster zones yet, due to the continued rain and flooding hampering damage assessments, the government plans to conduct fact-finding as soon as possible, and will make additional designations as necessary.
Source: Kim Jung-sil, Arirang News.