Public distrust of the government has grown considerably over the past couple of weeks over its handling of the Sewol-ho ferry disaster.
To more effectively deal with future crises, President Park Geun-hye announced yesterday that a new ministry would be launched under the purview of the prime minister's office.
This new body will serve as a control tower in the event of an emergency.
“The new national safety division will create an emergency response team. It will conduct safety drills to prepare for man-made and natural disasters that could cause immense damage to human life and property. The team will remain on stand-by 24 hours a day.”
The president said the new body would handle any number of disasters and accidents, ranging from chemical leaks and oil spills to issues with telecommunication networks or power supplies.
The envisioned ministry will consist of experts, including foreigners who specialize in crisis management and disaster response, and they'll be given the authority to train and deploy special forces in emergency situations.
President Park's proposal will be included in a revised bill on restructuring the government, which is to be discussed at the National Assembly.
In February, the president instructed the Ministry of Security and Public Administration to establish up a nationwide system to manage disasters and emergencies, but it failed to come up with an effective one.
President Park has lashed out at government officials in recent days, who she said are responsible for failing to properly manage the Sewol-ho ferry disaster, the nation’s worst maritime tragedy in decades.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.