GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – A chemical leak at a plant in Gumi, S Korea, about 10 km from US army base Camp Carroll, killed five people and injured 18 others 27 September but details of the extent of the damage are only now becoming clear, with officials declaring it a disaster area Monday 8 October.
People living within one kilometre of the plant were evacuated and 3,000 people are reported to have been sickened by the hydrofluoric acid leak, reports RT. The area southeast of the capital Seoul is known as Korea’s Silicon Valley.
The Korea Times gave the situation a scathing assessment Tuesday.
“The chaotic aftermath of the toxic gas leaks from a chemical plant in Gumi, 250 kilometers southeast of Seoul, shows why Korea is still a third-rate country by that standard.
“The government designated the affected area as a special disaster zone Monday ― 12 days after an explosion at a hydrofluoric acid plant there killed five workers and injured 18 others, and sent more than 3,500 residents who inhaled the gas to hospitals for treatment. The designation came only after fearful victims began to leave the town en masse.”
The army base has not been affected, according to Stars & Stripes.