S.Korea’s President declares 11 more flood-hit areas as special disaster zones

Searching for missing persons An Air Force chopper is deployed in the search for missing people along the Bukhan River in Chuncheon, 85 kilometers east of Seoul, for the eighth day in a row on Aug 13, 2020, in this photo provided by the Air Force. Six people aboard three vessels went missing on Aug 6, as their boats capsized in a collision with the Uiam Dam in Chuncheon while being swept away by rapids amid heavy downpours. Three of them are still missing. Photo courtesy of Yonhap News Agency.

SEOUL, Aug 13 (NNN-YONHAP) — President Moon Jae-in designated 11 southern areas, devastated by monsoon-season heavy rains, as special disaster zones Thursday for speedy state assistance for recovery work and the provision of relief funds, Cheong Wa Dae said.

The regions include Namwon in North Jeolla Province; Naju, Gurye, Gokseong, Damyang, Hwasun, Hampyeong, Younggwang and Jangseong in South Jeolla Province; Hadong and Hapcheon in South Gyeongsang Province.

The previous day, Moon visited Gurye and Hadong counties to inspect damages caused by days of torrential rains and subsequent river or stream flooding.

The recent downpours that pounded the central and southern regions have left 42 people dead or missing and more than 7,800 people displaced as of Wednesday.

Special disaster areas get state support that can cover up to 80 percent of the expenditures needed for damage recovery. Flood victims in the areas receive state aid for living costs and reductions in utility bills, health insurance premiums and other public charges, as well as exemptions from reserve forces training and other military duties.

Shortly after local government authorities’ request for the administrative measure, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety carried out an “emergency assessment” of damages in those areas to confirm whether they meet relevant criteria, according to deputy presidential spokesman Yoon Jae-kwan.

He said the government will continue to respond swiftly to such a demand involving people in urgent need.

Last week, the government declared seven hard-hit central and eastern areas as special disaster zones after assessing the scale of the damage and the urgency of state aid.