- Title: South Koreans clueless about bomb shelters, despite North Korea threat
- Date: 10th July 2017
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 7, 2017) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING ON STREET NEAR GWANGHWAMUN SUBWAY STATION SIGN READING (Korean/English/Mandarin): "SHELTER" PEOPLE WALKING DOWN STAIRS SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 10, 2017) (REUTERS) INSIDE OF GWANGHWAMUN SUBWAY STATION SIGN READING (Korean/English/Mandarin): "EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT" CABINET SHOWING INSTRUCTION OF EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT AND DISPLAYING EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT PACKAGES OF MASKS PEOPLE WALKING DOWN STAIRS AND GLASS DOOR NEXT TO STAIRS STICKER OF EMERGENCY EXIT TUNNEL SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 7, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 19-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN STUDENT, KIM YOUNG-JUN, SAYING: "I'm aware of that I should go to a subway station. However, I have no details and I have no idea where exactly I have to go (at the subway station) in the event of an actual war." SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 10, 2017) (REUTERS) ENTRANCE OF PARKING LOT SIGN READING (Korean/English/Mandarin): "SHELTER" STAIRS LEADING TO SHELTER VARIOUS OF VEHICLES AT PARKING LOT PEOPLE WALKING IN ROOM VARIOUS OF EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT ON DISPLAY FIRST AID KIT SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 7, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 54-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN CITIZEN, KIM HYEON-JU, SAYING: "I don't know exactly (about the shelter). I've learnt that there are facilities somewhere inside an apartment or a subway station through the media. However, I don't know the location of the shelter located near my house."
- Embargoed: 24th July 2017 09:36
- Keywords: South Korea shelters North Korea provocation attack
- Location: SEOUL, PAJU, GWANGHWA, YEONPYEONG ISLAND, SOUTH KOREA / UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, NORTH KOREA
- City: SEOUL, PAJU, GWANGHWA, YEONPYEONG ISLAND, SOUTH KOREA / UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION, NORTH KOREA
- Country: South Korea
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0016P4VVB9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS EDITED KRT MATERIAL
**PART QUALITY AS INCOMING**
Long within reach of most conventional North Korean artillery and missiles, South Korea is far from prepared if an all-out military conflict breaks out as tensions escalate over Pyongyang's rapidly advancing nuclear weapons programme.
North Korea often threatens to strike the neighbouring South and Japan, vowing to turn Seoul into a 'sea of fire' and 'a pile of ashes' the moment it has an order from leader Kim Jong Un.
South Korea has nearly 19,000 bomb shelters throughout the country. They include more than 3,200 in Seoul, just 40 km (25 miles) from the militarised border drawn up under a truce that stopped the 1950-53 Korean War but left the combatants technically at war.
Many South Koreans have no clue where these shelters are located and experts point out the lack of awareness and a lack of government effort to deal with a possible attack from North Korea.
The shelters are not built to protect against nuclear, chemical or biological attacks. They are mostly in subway stations or basements and parking garages in private apartments and commercial buildings designated as shelters with the consent of the owners.
In Seoul, most bomb shelters have no long-term supplies of food, water, medical kits or gas masks, an official at Seoul Metropolitan Government told Reuters. They can't be forced to stock up because no public funding is provided, said the official who declined to be identified.
To raise awareness, Seoul has handed out 34,000 paper fans this summer with information about bomb shelters, and is in the process of creating other promotional products such as flyers and stickers, the city government official said.
The United States said last week it was ready to use force if necessary to counter the threat from North Korea, which tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
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