Sunday, December 4, 2022

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S Korea flag fly at half-mast as country mourns for victims of Itaewon stampede

New Delhi: The South Korean national flag atop the Embassy of Korea here flies at half-mast as the country mourns the death of at least 151 people in Seoul Halloween stampede on Saturday night.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday announced a period of national mourning and ordered the lowering of flags after a deadly stampede.

At least 151 people were killed and 82 others injured in a stampede during Halloween celebrations in Seoul’s Itaewon district. Most of the victims were in their 20s.

The authorities said 97 women and 54 men were killed in the stampede and foreigners killed in the incident included those from Iran, Uzbekistan, China and Norway.

“It’s truly horrific,” Yoon said, saying Saturday’s “tragedy and disaster should never have happened,” reports news agency Yonhap.

“As president, who is responsible for the people’s lives and safety, my heart is heavy and I struggle to cope with my grief,” he said. “The government will designate the period from today until the accident is brought under control as a period of national mourning and will place top priority in administrative affairs in recovery and follow-up measures.”

During the mourning period, all public servants will be required to wear mourning ribbons.

He also ordered all government offices to lower their flags to half-mast, according to his office.

On Sunday, President Yoon Suk Yeol held another emergency meeting following an early briefing in the immediate aftermath of the stampede, Yonhap reported. He ordered ministries to provide swift first aid and treatment to those injured in the accident and to review safety measures.

An estimated 100,000 people had gathered in Itaewon for the country’s biggest outdoor Halloween festivities since the onset of the Covid pandemic.

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