[EDITORIALS]Horrifying, and preventableThe disaster at the Sangju Citizen’s Stadium, in which 11 people were trampled by crowds and about 100 others were injured, was a man-made disaster that should have been anticipated. Helpless senior citizens and children were victimized. The authorities must provide compensation and reveal the details of the accident and say who was responsible.
The principal cause of the accident was insensitivity toward safety. The organizers were only focused on promoting the event, but were careless in the preparations that had to be made. More than 10,000 people were expected to come to the MBC Pop Concert that day since many famous pop stars were scheduled to perform. There should have been staff in charge of keeping order, but there were only 130 workers on the scene, including 30 police officers who were in charge of sorting out traffic. The 80 staff members hired by the organizer to keep order were college students; they had no prior experience in handling events and received no safety education.
We are speechless at the rashness of the organizers. Their inexperience can be seen by the fact that of five entrances, they only opened one and that they accepted people on a first-come first-served basis without requiring them to stand in line. There was not even an ambulance at the scene, which is a necessity at gatherings of large crowds. These factors added to the toll.
Later, more lamentable details were revealed. The International Culture Promotion Association, the host of the event, was operated by the brother-in-law of Sanju’s mayor; this association created an affiliate in March and won the project in August. The company lacked experience in planning and staging concerts. Not only did it fail to report to fire authorities in preparation for possible disasters, it did not even have any insurance. MBC reportedly complained repeatedly to the Sangju city government about the inexperience of the company, but they cannot avoid responsibility since they went on with the concert without correcting the problems.
Senior citizens and children should always be protected, and the fact that the elderly and the weak were the main victims does not reflect on a healthy society. As more events and festivals are planned, the danger of perilous situations increases. We must take this tragic event as a lesson and become more sensitive in preventing accidents that are associated with underdeveloped countries.