Condolences pour in after Seoul Halloween stampede

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet that his country is “deeply saddened by the tragic events in Seoul,” calling it “a sad day for South Korea.”..reports Asian Lite News

Seoul, Oct 30 (IANS) World leaders have sent messages of condolences and support to South Korea after a deadly stampede in Seoul’s Itaewon district killed at least 151 people during Halloween celebrations.

“We grieve with the people of South Korea and send our best wishes for a quick recovery to all those who were injured,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement on Sunday.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a tweet, “All our thoughts are with those currently responding and all South Koreans at this very distressing time.”

In a message written in French and Korean, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “I extend my condolences to the citizens of Seoul and the Korean people in the Itaewon disaster. France is by your side.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet that his country is “deeply saddened by the tragic events in Seoul,” calling it “a sad day for South Korea.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also left similar messages of deep condolences, Yonhap news agency reported.

Josep Borrell, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, said, “Deeply saddened by the terrible events in central Seoul. What meant to be a celebration turned into a tragedy with so many young casualties. We are with the people of South Korea at this difficult moment,”

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan wrote in a tweet that he hoped for “a quick recovery for those injured” in the “heartbreaking” accident and that the US “stands ready to provide South Korea with any support it needs”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said, “We send our thoughts and deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased and injured, as well as to the people of South Korea as they mourn this horrific tragedy,” referring to Korea by its official name, the Republic of Korea.

Prez Yoon announces national mourning period

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Sunday announced a period of national mourning and ordered the lowering of flags after a deadly stampede killed at least 151 people, including 19 foreigners, during Halloween celebrations in Seoul.

Yoon addressed the nation live from the presidential office a day after a crowd surge in a narrow alley in Itaewon crushed scores of young revellers, many in their 20s.

“It’s truly horrific,” Yoon said, saying Saturday’s “tragedy and disaster should never have happened”.

“As president, who is responsible for the people’s lives and safety, my heart is heavy and I struggle to cope with my grief,” he added.

“The government will designate the period from today until the accident is brought under control as a period of national mourning and will place top priority in administrative affairs in recovery and follow-up measures.”

Yoon expressed his condolences over the deaths and wished a speedy recovery for the injured, saying the government will support funeral preparations and fully mobilise emergency medical services to treat patients, including by assigning public servants individually to those requiring assistance, Yonhap news agency reported.

“The most important thing is to determine the cause of the accident and prevent similar accidents,” he said.

“We will thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and make fundamental improvements so that similar accidents do not happen again in the future.”

Yoon also added that he will instruct the Interior Ministry and other relevant ministries to carry out an emergency review of all Halloween celebrations and other local festivals to ensure they are conducted in an orderly and safely manner.

Immediately after the address, the President visited the site of the accident before heading to the government complex in central Seoul to preside over a government response meeting.

He also ordered all government offices to lower their flags to half-mast, according to his office.

At least 19 foreigners killed

At least 19 foreigners have been confirmed dead in a stampede at Seoul’s Itaewon district during Halloween celebrations, fire authorities said on Sunday.

The death toll from Saturday’s accident rose to 151, with 19 of them identified as foreigners, Choi Seong-beom, head of the fire department in Yongsan, said in a briefing.

Their nationalities include those from Iran, Uzbekistan, China and Norway, Choi added as quoted by Yonhap news agency report.

ALSO READ: At least 151 killed, 82 injured in Seoul Halloween stampede

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