Landslide SMSs sent to wrong officials

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Landslide SMSs sent to wrong officials

Miscommunication between a local district office and the state-run Korea Forest Service caused some of the casualties in the landslides from Mount Umyeon in Seocho District, southern Seoul, the JoongAng Ilbo found yesterday.

The landslides last Wednesday killed at least 18 people, including Yang Myeong-suk, the wife of Koo Hak-su, the chairman of Shinsegae Corp., and three residents in the Samsung Raemian luxury apartments in Bangbae-dong.

The forest service should have sent text message flood warnings to Seocho District officials about the possibility of landslides.

The service said it sent them at 5:24 p.m., 7:31 p.m. and 8:24 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, and 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27.

The mudslides began around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The Seocho District Office said its officials didn’t receive the warnings, and if they had, lives would have been saved.

“The forest service sent the text messages to retired district office officials,” Jeong Yeon-jin, a senior official at the Seocho District Office said in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo. “The current officials didn’t receive any texts at all.”

The forest service told the JoongAng Ilbo it is not to blame.

It said the district office didn’t update its list of officials in charge of landslide management, and that’s why the service sent the texts to the wrong officials.

“We have regularly advised local government offices to update their contact information registered in our online landslide management system,” a forest service official told the JoongAng Ilbo on the condition of anonymity. “If the local government updates the personal information of current officials on time, we won’t make any errors in sending the texts.”

However, analysts said sending text messages before a potential disaster isn’t sufficient.

“We need an integrated disaster management system in which the central government and local officials can communicate instantly in emergencies,” said Lee Su-gon, a professor at the University of Seoul.

Seocho District received about 161 millimeters (6.33 inches) of rain in the three hours from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Residents whose assets were damaged by the landslides said they would file a class-action lawsuit against the Seocho District Office.

“We formed an emergency committee,” said Gwak Chang-ho, 55, leader of a residents’ group at the Raemian apartments.

“And we are preparing to take legal action to ask who will take responsibility for the landslide,” he said.

Land near an Air Force base on the summit of Mount Umyeon was eroded due to a landslide, the Seoul city government said at a briefing held yesterday afternoon, but facilities and trees inside the base weren’t damaged, raising the suspicion that the military base might have been the initial cause of the landslide.

“We found that some land outside the base’s fence was eroded by a landslide,” Jeong Hyeong-seok, leader of an emergency investigation team for Mount Umyeon, said at the briefing.

“But no facilities or trees inside the base were destroyed at all in the downpour. The drainage at the base is also working without problems,” he said.

Jeong said he and other investigators looked down upon the mountain’s summit in a helicopter on Sunday and found three spots outside the base’s perimeter that were eroded, apparently by the landslide.

One of the stretches of eroded land led down to the destroyed Raemian apartments.

“At this moment, we can’t say the military base caused the landslide,” Jeong added.

“In an effort to investigate the exact reason of the disaster, the base will cooperate with our investigation and so will the Ministry of National Defense.”


By Jeon Young-sun, Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

“산림청 산사태 경고 문자, 서초구 퇴직자에게 갔다”

서초구청 엉터리 비상연락망

산림청이 서울 서초구에 보낸 ‘산사태 발생 위험 예보 정보’ 휴대전화 문자메시지(SMS)는 서초구의 퇴직 공무원들에게 전달된 것으로 확인됐다. 국민의 목숨이 걸린 재난 위험경보 시스템의 전달체계가 이렇게 허술한 것으로 나타나 충격을 주고 있다. 정연진 서초구 도시디자인 국장은 31일 “서초구의 현직 담당자들은 문자메시지를 받은 적이 없고 산림청이 보낸 문자메시지는 퇴직 공무원들에게 발송됐다”고 말했다.

 산림청의 예보 문자메시지는 기상청의 기상정보를 분석해 해당 지역의 강우 조건이 충족되면 산사태 위험지 관리 시스템에 등록된 자치단체 담당자(공무원) 휴대전화번호로 자동 발송된다. 문자메시지를 받은 지자체에서는 시장·군수·구청장이 관할 지역의 실제 기상상황 등을 고려해 산사태 위험주의보 또는 위험경보를 발령한다.

 산림청과 서초구청은 그동안 문자메시지 발송과 접수를 놓고 공방을 벌였다. 산림청은 31일 “산사태 위험지 관리 시스템을 통해 산사태 발생 이전인 지난달 26일 오후와 27일 새벽 모두 네 차례에 걸쳐 문자메시지가 자동 발송된 것을 확인했다”고 밝혔다. 산림청이 밝힌 발송시간은 지난달 26일 오후 5시24분, 7시31분, 8시24분과 27일 오전 2시30분이다. 서초구에선 “담당자들 중 누구도 문자메시지를 받은 적이 없다”고 주장해 왔다. 산림청 관계자는 “산림청에서는 정기적으로 지자체에 공문과 문자메시지 등을 통해 담당자가 바뀌면 산사태 위험지 관리 시스템에 등록된 전화번호를 변경하라고 알려 주고 있다”고 말했다. 그는 “지자체에서 산사태 위험지 관리 시스템에 담당 공무원의 휴대전화번호 등 개인정보를 제대로 등록했다면 문자 발송에 착오가 있을 수 없다”고 덧붙였다.

 전문가들은 산사태 발생 같은 위기 상황에서 문자메시지만 보내는 재난 위험경보 시스템은 허술하다고 지적하고 있다. 이수곤 서울시립대 교수는 "중앙 부처와 시장·군수·구청장들과의 신속한 연락망이 구축되는 등 재난 통합 관리 시스템이 필요하다”고 말했다.

 ◆주민들 "서초구청 상대 집단 소송”=한편 우면산 산사태로 피해를 본 주민들은 서초구청을 상대로 집단소송에 들어가기로 했다. 래미안 방배아트힐 아파트 자치회장 곽창호(55)씨는 “산사태의 책임 소재와 관련해 비상대책위원회를 구성하고 법적 대응을 준비하고 있다”고 말했다.

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