Thank you all for your hard work through the night. Special thanks go to firefighters, police officers and other government officials from relevant agencies, including the Korea Forest Service, as well as the Gangwon Provincial Government. The military has provided a lot of assistance, and many people from the private sector have also joined the firefighting efforts. I’m grateful to them all.
I was briefed that all available resources, including helicopters, equipment and personnel, had been mobilized as of dawn, fortunately containing the wildfire’s spread and nearly bringing the main fire under control.
I urge everyone to remain alert and work as hard as they can to the end until the lingering embers are completely extinguished. All available personnel, including local government officials and military troops, should be sent in to recheck areas under control and even the fires already put out. Please ensure that every effort is made to identify and search for any possible victims in remote mountainous areas.
I also hope that you take extra care of displaced victims who – after having lost their homes in an instant – may now find time to catch their breath. Instead of using gymnasiums and other large indoor spaces to accommodate them en masse, if possible, I ask you to give positive considerations to utilizing the training facilities for public organizations that are not far from where they live.
In addition, I urge you to redouble efforts to provide sufficient daily necessities and protect the victims by assisting with their medical and psychological care.
It is also now reported that wildfires are breaking out in regions other than Gangwon Province. With firefighting capacity now concentrated in Gangwon Province, I urge you to work with local authorities to come up with countermeasures to prevent a vacuum in firefighting capabilities in other regions.
The Government declared a State of National Disaster as of 9:00 a.m. today. I ask the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior and Safety, who are visiting the fire site, to monitor the situation and quickly review the possibility of designating the area a Special Disaster Zone.
It is impossible to prevent natural disasters such as wildfires, but it is possible to minimize the damage. I urge you to better publicize evacuation procedures for those living in regions where wildfires frequently occur and check whether disaster broadcast systems are operating properly.