[EDITORIALS]Rusa's toll demands action

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[EDITORIALS]Rusa's toll demands action

Rusa, the 15th typhoon of the season, left wretched scars throughout the peninsula. The death toll keeps rising; flood victims whose property and farms have been swept away are living nightmares. The country is suffering the worst damage since Typhoon Sara hit in 1959, yet the central and regional governments are extremely slow at restoring services.

The prime minister's post is still vacant and the president has not been at the forefront of rescue and recovery operations, perhaps because of his health. Under such circumstances, it is impossible to unite the people's efforts to aid our flood-stricken country. The president must go to the flood sites to voice his support.

The typhoon severely damaged the nation's infrastructure, including railroads, highways and the communication network, as well as electrical, water and gas facilities. The nation's rail network was paralyzed and traffic along the Gyeongbu Expressway was closed for the first time since the road was opened. Recovery work is progressing at 33 locations on eight railroad lines; rebuilding the Gamcheon Railroad Bridge on the Gyeongbu Line will take more time.

The nation's infrastructure was vulnerable because some facilities were dilapidated and the government's preventive measures were insufficient. Experts noted that the stability of many slope cuts was unrealistic and unsafe, triggering repeated landslides when heavy rains poured. Regional governments failed to come up with adequate flood-control measures, and recklessly developed rivers, fields, mountains and forests worsened the flood damage.

The central and local governments have important roles; they must restore the country's infrastructure and provide drinking water, food and places to sleep for the homeless. Fortunately, the National Assembly passed a bill a few days ago that will enable the declaration of disaster zones to provide aid. The cabinet must meet to proclaim the disaster zones and draft regulations.

Paying emergency recovery subsidies as soon as possible is the best way to stabilize the flood victims' livelihoods. Instead of debating the amount for compensation and recovery, the government must conduct accurate surveys to assess the damage. To achieve this, the government's alertness and adroit action are the most pressing needs.

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