Recovery work in typhoon-ravaged areas of the nation has not been carried out properly due to a shortage of equipment and workers, residents claim.
A rice field in Sora village in Yeosu, South Jeolla province, was devastated by Typhoon Maemi last weekend. Four days after the typhoon ended, the government still had not provided heavy equipment to clear the field of mud, and consequently no emergency recovery work had begun.
"I went to the village office during the last two days and asked for a truck with a forklift, but the office only said 'wait,' " a village resident, Wang Byeong-jin, said.
Park Seung-eup, a village head in Eupgye village in Samcheok, Gangwon province, where 580 houses were washed away by the typhoon, said, "Residents here are making desperate requests for recovery equipment and personnel. But their requests are not being granted."
On Ulleungdo, where the only large road was wrecked by the typhoon, little restoration work has begun. A 64-ton concrete structure is blocking a section of the road on the island, but no equipment was provided to remove it.
On Busan's Gadeokdo, where a breakwater and 391 houses were swept away, little recovery work is going on. More than 1,000 volunteers from the Busan Red Cross and civic organizations in Busan yesterday collected a large amount of debris on the island, but they could not remove it since there were few dump trucks available to transport the trash.
A Daegu recovery work team official said, "Nationwide, since too many sections spread across too large an area were damaged or flooded by the typhoon, the government is having difficulty supporting recovery work in the areas with heavy equipment."
Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush is sending $50,000 to the South Korean Red Cross as a donation to the typhoon victims, the U.S. Embassy here said yesterday.
by Kang Chan-ho