October 31, 2022 14:01
President Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday declared a week of national mourning in a televised statement on Sunday after the deadly Halloween stampede in Itaewon the previous day.
"A tragedy that should not have happened occurred in the middle of Seoul last night. My heart is heavy and broken," Yoon said. He pledged to "thoroughly investigate the cause of incident" and make every effort to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.
Yoon stayed up all night Saturday to oversee the government's response over the stampede that killed at least 154 people.
Less than an hour after the stampede, Yoon called an emergency meeting where a weeklong state mourning for the victims was decided. Itaewon was declared a special disaster area, which entitles the families of the dead and injured to compensation of expenses including medical bills and funeral costs.
Yoon visited the scene at 10:00 a.m. Sunday. "We ask municipal and provincial governments nationwide to refrain from holding various events and festivals during the mourning period for the victims," he said. He also ordered flags at government agencies and offices to be lowered at half-mast.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon cut short a trip to Europe and returned to the capital city on Sunday and went straight to Itaewon from the airport.
Memorial altars were set up in front of City Hall in central Seoul as well as in Itaewon.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com