The Korea Herald


Seoul announces steps to prepare for winter

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : Nov. 8, 2023 - 17:34

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Pedestrians are dressed in winter jackets at Jongno-gu, central Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap) Pedestrians are dressed in winter jackets at Jongno-gu, central Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Wednesday announced a set of measures to prepare for the upcoming winter season.

With the winter season coming up, the city government plans to implement its winter safety measures to protect people who are vulnerable in cold weather, such as the elderly and the homeless.

The measures will be taken beginning from Nov. 15 to March 15 next year.

The city government plans to operate situation rooms consisting of officials from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, district offices in Seoul and other related organizations, responding to issues related to the cold wave, snow removal, safety, health and public welfare.

A task force will also be separately run by Seoul when heavy snow or cold wave advisories are issued across the capital.

Those who are classified as low-income groups will receive a set of cold protection goods and the elderly who are classified in such income groups will receive special care with city government officials visiting or calling their homes every two days to check in on them.

Energy vouchers will also be offered to low-income families who are struggling to pay gas bills until April 2024. Those who wish to receive the energy vouchers must apply for them before Dec. 29 at the nearest community service center.

To prepare for water pipes freezing and bursting -- which often occurs in winter -- an emergency situation room will also be in operation to recover the pipes to normal and to provide emergency water supplies if needed.

In case of heavy snowfall, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has prepared 1,123 snow removal vehicles and 62,150 metric tons of deicer. The city government also replaced its old snow removal vehicles and equipment in advance.

Additionally, all 25 district offices, six road maintenance offices and the Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation also set up a task force to respond to emergency situations related to heavy snowfall.

More public transportation will be added when heavy snow is expected during rush hour and it will also be extended when heavy snow is expected before the last public transportation services run.

If more than 5 centimeters of snow are expected during such hours, public transportation will be extended by 30 minutes. If more than 10 centimeters of snow are expected, public transportation will be extended by an hour.

As for those vulnerable to fires during the winter season, such as doss-house districts and traditional markets, fire safety inspections will be made by the public and private sectors in advance.

Works to prevent forest fires will also be done by conducting joint inspections of the sites beforehand to protect cultural assets and temples and to see if there are any more facilities left to look into beforehand.

"With cold weather expected once again this year, the city government will strive to implement comprehensive measures to help citizens get through winter this year safely and warmly," said Kim Sang-han, head of the Seoul Metropolitan Government's office of planning and coordination.