SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A multilingual disaster alert system for foreigners is under development in South Korea, with its launch planned before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, slated for February next year.
Real-time warnings in English and Chinese will be serviced in disaster situations via a smartphone app, an official from the Interior Ministry told The Korea Herald on Monday (Nov 20).
"Via our 'Emergency Ready' app for smartphones, real-time warnings will be sent in English and Chinese for weather emergencies like storms, as well as geological disasters like earthquakes," said Lee Dong Hee, deputy director of Disaster Information & Communications Division at the Interior Ministry.
Lee added that the alert function is planned for completion in late December, and will go on service before the Olympics in February.
The 'Emergency Ready' app, offers civil emergency advice, including shelter locations and emergency contact numbers, in Korean, English and Chinese, while the real-time alert function is offered only in Korean as of yet.
The app is available for download on Apple and Android devices for free.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Interior and Safety, this movement to bolster emergency support for foreigners, comes in preparation for a big influx in foreign visitors for the Olympics.
The system development also coincides with a heightened alert among residents in South Korea following a rare 5.4-magnitude earthquake in Pohang on Nov 15.
A nationwide emergency text alert for the earthquake was sent only in the Korean language, leaving non-speakers in the dark.