Disaster In Jeonju, Korea: Citizens Criticize Government Due To Lack Of Preparedness For Winter Storm

The area remains under a weather advisory, with an additional 5 to 15 centimeters of snow expected.

Southwestern to central regions of Korea were hit with subzero temperatures and threats of heavy snowfall on Thursday.

Residents in the North Jeolla Province of Jeonju face severe weather conditions after snow and ice accumulated within the last 24 hours. This dangerous wintery mix disrupted the routines of many and impacted the safety of citizens in Jeonju.

Traffic is being directed amid heavy snowfall and icy roads in Jeonju.

Over the course of the week, temperatures rose during the day and fell at night while rain turned into snow, creating the perfect conditions for an icy disaster.

Citizens were furious as the normally busy roads were transformed into a sheet of ice, causing delays to public transportation and accidents as the roads were not preventatively treated before the winter weather.

Road conditions in Jeonju | theqoo

As the layers of ice and snow accumulated, Korean netizens couldn’t contain their rage while hours passed with little to no snow removal or ice treatment efforts being made.

Many noted that weather services had forecasted the winter weather ahead of time, which left citizens wondering why no preventative measures were taken.

The treacherous weather conditions were reported to have caused 56 vehicular accidents, including a snow truck that overturned on the slick roads.

| Yonhap News

Netizens took to online community boards to express their concerns and share their grievances about the lack of preparedness the local government had shown.

Many had tales of their own struggles in the weather, reporting commutes that normally took 20 minutes had turned into a two-hour expedition and dangerous conditions for pedestrians who attempted to make their way to work on foot.

| theqoo
  • “The weather forecast expected snow. And as forecasted, it snowed. In other words, this wasn’t an unexpected snow… It is simply that the government failed to prepare for the weather, and the officials did not do their jobs. At the very least, they could have applied road salt on time. And with the traffic on these bigger streets, things would never have gotten that bad. It’s not like we had record-breaking snowfall, either. This has never happened before, so it’s no wonder people are criticizing the new mayor. It took my dad two hours to travel a route that usually takes him 20 minutes. In fact, he had to leave his vehicle somewhere in the middle and he got super upset. He didn’t see a single snowplow out there. No police. It was the residents who ended up helping each other get off the slippery streets. He said in the 30 years he has lived in Jeonju he has never seen the streets this bad. If any accidents happen, the government is to blame.”

Other netizens expressed their disappointment, feeling that after the tragic events and lack of appropriate emergency response and preparedness by South Korean officials to the Itaewon disaster, they would see an effort to increase safety measures for the public.

| theqoo
  • “The disaster in Itaewon happened this year. Why isn’t [the government] paying greater attention to safety? Are they after the drivers now?”
  • “Road salt isn’t going to fix those streets anymore. They’ll have to scrape the ice off… It looks insane. Wow.”
  • “WTF? How are people supposed to drive on those streets?”
  • “Looks pretty bad. That means the traffic’s at an all-stop. Things could actually get really dangerous.”
  • “I haven’t seen streets this bad in years… Has the government given up on taking care of the city?”
  • “Whaaat?! Those streets are completely frozen.”

Weather advisories are in place, and authorities are expecting an additional 5 to 15 centimeters of snow in the northern and southern provinces of Jeonju.

Source: Korea JoongAng Daily and theqoo

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