Korea Times

Seoul residents fear terrorism, radioactivity within decade

Expert opinion says the South Korean capital will become safer

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2016, 11:42am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2016, 11:44am

By Choi Sung-jin

Six out of 10 Seoul citizens think their city is vulnerable to various disasters, and cite air pollution, summer heat and yellow dust as three disaster types threatening them most, a survey shows. 

The respondents also said they expected terrorism would emerge as the fourth type of disaster within a decade, according to the survey of 1,344 citizens and 85 experts by the Seoul Institute, a think tank that advises the metropolitan government on policy. 

Only 14.7 per cent of respondents said Seoul was safe from various disasters, one-fourth the level of those who saw their city as dangerous, and far lower than the 29.4 per cent positive replies of experts. 

Asked about the overall level of danger a decade later, ordinary citizens said Seoul would become “more dangerous,” while experts expected it would be “safer.” In detail, 36.4 per cent of citizens expected greater danger and 26.3 per cent saw less of it while 31.8 per cent of experts made negative replies and 43.5 per cent remained more positive. 

As the 10 mostly likely types of disaster, citizens cited air contamination, scorching heat, dust sand, land collapse, traffic accidents and infectious diseases, while experts put epidemics ahead of land collapse. 

Asked to name 10 major types of disaster that would likely hit the capital city within a decade, citizens and experts put terrorism in fourth place, and also  included cyber attack, water contamination, radioactivity and drought in the list. 

“The recent series of unexpected disasters, including mountain slides, ferry sinking and the spread of epidemic, stress the need for predicting large-scale disasters and to cope with them systematically,” said institute head Kim Soo-hyun. 

The think tank is scheduled to hold a workshop on the subject on Thursday.