New Disaster Manuals Outline Emergency Response

    November 29, 2005 22:19


    The National Security Council (NSC) announced Tuesday that it has put together a comprehensive set of manuals to ensure that Korea responds to any emergency situation in a systematic manner.

    Responses to 264 possible crises have been compiled as sets of practical guidelines to date, with a total of 272 scenarios to be included by the end of the year. The Ministry of Defense produced the booklets together with the Foreign Ministry and 37 government organizations.

    The government manuals even outline contingency plans in the event of extreme right-wing groups from Japan staging a landing on the contested Dokdo islets, as well as providing responses to six potential categories of crises. However, for the sake of Japan-Korea relations, a scenario that involved Japan invading the peninsula was omitted, according to Cheong Wa Da.

    Four manuals were composed to address the possibility of a North Korean nuclear scenario. They respectively deal with what to do in the event of a nuclear test by the North, how to respond if it exports nuclear weapons, technology or materials to other countries, and how to contain radioactive fallout in the event of a catastrophe at the North's Yongbyon reactor. However, the manuals are considered so classified and the security matters they cover so sensitive that even the names of the pamphlets are being withheld.

    During a skirmish with North Korean vessels in the West Sea in 2002, the South Korean Navy's poor response took its toll. The NSC drew up a manual containing six categories of responses to a North Korean intrusion of the Northern Limit Line after analysts blamed the lack of a clear manual for the losses accrued.

    The pamphlet categorizes its responses according to the severity of the perceived threat. For example, it distinguishes between an accidental crossing of the maritime border by a fishing vessel and other situations that may be harder to determine, or when the North Korean coast guard, which has the capability to stage military action, violates the sea border. The manual articulates how the Navy and administrations in the vicinity of the islets can quickly tackle such situations.

    A further 29 manuals related to North Korea were prepared to tackle local provocations, guerrilla infiltrations and conflict arising in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the presidential office announced.

    Another manual related to the rail transit system includes five scenarios such as a tunnel fire on the high-speed KTX or an explosion on the tracks. The manual outlines responses to a range of disasters including seven categories of large subway fires, 15 types of earthquake damage, nine possible disasters that may occur in crowded facilities such as the human stampede at the Milyang performance, and 13 contingency plans for outbreaks of disease.

    Besides these, the NSC also announced a set of guidelines dealing with riots breaking out in prisons, tap water poisoned with toxic chemicals, electricity outages in big cities and disruptions to computer networks.


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