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Typhoon Chaba leaves chaos in its wake


Typhoon Chaba hit the southern parts of South Korea between Oct. 4 and Oct. 5, leaving seven people dead, three missing, and hundreds more affected by the ensuing flood. Recognizing Chaba as the strongest typhoon to hit the country since Typhoon Maemi of 2003, Korean government officials have called for urgent action.

According to the Ministry of Public Safety and Security, people were found dead in the cities of Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongju. Among the dead was an Ulsan rescue worker who had gone missing while on duty and drowned. By causing massive flooding among coastal towns, Chaba injured more than 350 people and destroyed at least 14 houses. Chaba also led to a mass cancellation of international flights, an increase in insurance costs, and a halt in production in many factories.

“It’s only once in a few years that a typhoon hits Korea,” said Sohee Ahn (11), a member of DMZ Eco Youth Club. “It seems like Typhoon Chaba is receiving increasing attention because it caused so much harm and death in a single day. Most of the citizens were clearly not notified and were kept uninformed about steps they could take to prevent such tolls. Our national government should take some more initiative in securing the citizens.”

Recent research conducted by weather experts from [Korea Herald] support the scientific consensus that global warming was the likely reason for a typhoon of such an unpredictable scale. Most tropical storms occur when sea temperatures increase, and ocean temperatures have been on the rise for the past several years as a result of global warming. According to Korea Times, scientists contend that if such trends continue to escalate, then the movements of typhoons will be more irregular, creating situations that will be difficult for humans to contain.

“Geographically, South Korea does not get as much influence from natural disasters as other countries,” said Nuri Choi (11), a member of both DMZ Eco Youth Club and Green Club. “Due to the lack of preventative strategies, the government seems to be unaware of how the typhoon is not just merely flooding the town but that, in essence, is dragging down the overall economic progress in different departments. For instance, I heard about how the Hyundai Motor Company’s production line in Ulsan suspended due to flooding in the building and that dozens of Hyundai cars ready for shipment were delayed as well.”

Typhoon Chaba headed towards Japan after its two-day stay in Korea, passing directly over the Kume Island. Although the Korean government eventually put a stop to any more physical damages from the typhoon, numerous charity organizations and city governors had to aid the victims and rebuild damaged parts of cities.