[EDITORIALS]Typhoon? What typhoon?

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[EDITORIALS]Typhoon? What typhoon?

Typhoon Rammasun and its gusty winds and torrential rain is causing damage across the country as it moves north. The storm is expected to make landfall on the Korean Peninsula Saturday afternoon, so the whole country must brace for the storm in order to minimize its impact.

The early-season typhoon is similar in strength and route to Prapiroon, which battered Gyeonggi, Chungcheong and the Jeolla provinces in August 2001. Although the storm has lost some of its strength on its way north, it is still very powerful.

We are concerned that Korea seems not so well braced for the typhoon season. Nearly 500 places across the country are at high risk for flood or collapse.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government planned to set up 29 pumping facilities that would drain water out of low-lying areas in the city, but people in those areas are nervous; 18 of the stations are still under construction and other projects to prevent floods have not been completed.

Although four people were electrocuted during last year's floods because of defects in electric control boxes on street lamps, just 40 percent of the repair works have been completed so far.

Northern Gyeonggi province, which gets hit by floods every summer, still remains vulnerable to floods because of delays in building embankments and installing drain pumps.

It is probably administrative laziness that keeps the central and local governments poorly prepared for preventing floods that return every year. The authorities cite insufficient funds. But what is more important that the lives and property of people?

We can understand why Lee Myung-bak, the new Seoul mayor, blasted his senior staff members during his first meeting with them for not taking urgently-needed flood prevention measures.

Weather authorities forecast that this year will bring more typhoons than the usual two or three. The government should mobilize all its resources to minimize damage, and come up with measures to evacuate displaced people and provide them with shelter and food.

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