Two times there were earthquakes over magnitude 5 which struck the Korean peninsula an hour apart. The epicenter of both earthquakes was Gyeongju. Gyeongju is the place where the Yangsan fault passes through. Those shocks knocked merchandise in a mart off shelves and broke show windows of sportswear shops. Also, 23 cultural assets are slightly damaged and urgent repairs are required. These shocks shook Busan, Daegu, Ulsan and even Seoul. Changwon couldn’t avoid the shockwaves.
The first earthquake took place at 7:44pm, the time people finish their daily schedules. An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 made buildings sway so there were some people running away from buildings. After 48 minutes, the main earthquake of magnitude 5.8 struck the Korean peninsula and made people frustrated and buildings shook as if they might collapse. National communication networks were paralyzed because a huge number of people simultaneously tried to call their families or friends to inform them they were okay . Kakaotalk also shut down for 2 hours so communications were disrupted.
The impact from the earthquake affected our school as well. Even students studying in the library took fright and evacuated the building in hurry which was seen on CCTV.
Safety frigidity which is widespread in Korea showed up again. Some high school teachers made students keep studying while the earthquake went on, just saying nothing bad would happen. In addition, some universities’ dormitories gave directions to stay calm and keep their positions. This remind me of the nightmare of the Sewol ferry disaster in 2014.
Our school was not so different. About 2500 people reside in our university’s dormitory. While the earthquakes occurred, dwellers could not recognize the situation and were just frustrated because buildings were swaying. No announcement was delivered to residents. If there was an announcement that an earthquake was taking place, and they were given directions to protect their body and evacuate, students might have been able to act calmly. Frustrated, the ran away from the dormitory in a hurry and didn’t know what to do as there was no announcement. Some students even realized the earthquake after the shock because the situation was chaotic.
Fortunately, even though action taken during the earthquake was poor, the event was not that strong to destroy buildings and structures. However, when a serious earthquake strikes again, if we take action like this time, there will be a massive loss of lives.
It is because of a lack of earthquake response manuals, not only for students but also teachers and directors.
In addition, a professor in the International Relations Department who studied for a long time in Japan, so he was well-trained person to this earthquake, said he tried to evacuate the building following the wall lines, but students were sitting and in a panic. We can see the good example of lack of disaster response education.
An earthquake of magnitude 5 happened in July, and two massive earthquakes happened in a day in September. There is enough of a chance of stronger earthquakes coming.
For these reasons, not only the government or national institutes but also our university has to set disaster response manuals and carry out simulated evacuation regularly, so we will be able to do as guidelines instruct us to do.
Park Hyun-jong, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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