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S. Korea struggles to battle worst wildfire on its soil in years

5 April 2019 15:57

SEOUL. KAZINFORM South Korea on Friday grappled with the massive blaze that roared through forests and cities along the eastern coast, declaring a national emergency and mobilizing all available resources to bring the inferno under control, Yonhap reports.

Over 13,000 rescue officials from across the nation battled to contain the fire that started in a mountainous county of Goseong, about 160 kilometers northeast of Seoul, before spreading to neighboring Sokcho, Gangneung and Donghae cities within hours.

One man died in the fire and 35 others were injured, with at least a few thousands left displaced and damage piling up to what authorities have described as "an unprecedented extent."

The government declared a state of national disaster for the affected areas as of 9 a.m., enabling swift provisions of relief supplies and other resources necessary to minimize the damage.President Moon Jae-in urged his government to make all-out efforts to contain the fire and help the victims. He told officials to consider designating the blaze-hit areas as special disaster zones. That would entitle the locations and their residents to speedy, special government support.

"I ask you to do your utmost until the very last moment when all embers are completely put out," the president said earlier in a crisis management meeting held at the national crisis management center at his office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul.

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