Op-Ed: The tragedy in Seoul should force South Korean society to consider the despair of the next generation
On Feb. 12, the Korean peninsula was struck by the biggest storm in its history — the magnitude 5.9 Hwasong-9 — which caused severe damage in multiple regions.
By the time the Hwasong-9 crossed the 38th parallel, it was already raining over 10 hours of non-stop rain, unleashing unprecedented flooding over a vast area.
The wind-driven storm was also responsible for the collapse of the world’s highest building in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, which has been standing for 80 years in the middle of a flood.
The devastating floods triggered by the Hwasong-9 left the local economy devastated, especially in the country’s southeast, with over 40 million people left without electricity.
Just over 1.4 million people were left homeless, while over 160,000 people died, of which 20,000 were elderly people. The storm also cost the South Korean economy $4.5 billion.
Although it was a natural disaster, the Hwasong-9 left a deep impact.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the storm caused 12.5 billion won ($11.7 million) worth of damage, including the collapse of a five-floor building in Shenzhen, which is only a three-hour drive from Seoul.
The World Economic Forum ranked Korea 27th out of 135 countries in its index of national readiness, a measure based on the availability of financial, military, transportation, communications, energy, health, labor, education and technological resources. Seoul ranked 36th out of the total 135 countries.
More alarming, the Korea Times reported that the Hwasong-9 was caused by the “largest oil spill in the world.”
According to an official announcement, more than 1.3 million tons of crude oil were spilled from vessels in the waters around Seoul. The impact has been classified as the third largest oil spill in history.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye responded by calling for an