Seoul shantytown fire leaves 500 evacuated and destroys 60 homes

Fire Fighters truck South Korea

Fire truck and firefighters at Yongsan Fire Department in South Korea.. Photo:IMCOM-Korea Public Affairs Television Public Service.

About 500 people were evacuated Friday after a fire broke out in the slum of Guryong, the only one left in Seoul, which destroyed at least 60 homes, according to the fire department.

The flames began at 6:27 local time on Friday in this shantytown located in the Gangnam district, today well known thanks to the hit “Gangnam style” by rapper Psy, and the area of the South Korean capital in which K-Pop sinks its roots more.

After more than five hours, firefighting crews extinguished the blaze at 11:46, according to local news agency Yonhap. For the moment, no fatalities or injuries have been reported from the fire, which affected about 2,700 square meters of the settlement, prone to this type of incidents.

Guryong is located on the outskirts of the southern part of Gangnam, where the country’s most expensive real estate is located. The settlement emerged in the 1980s, when poor residents of the region were forced to leave their homes in the face of advancing urban development projects in the city.

More than 900 firefighters, police and civil servants were deployed to the area to extinguish and manage the fire, added the news agency.

The makeshift houses in Guryong are prone to electrical failure and fire due to their flammable materials. Since 2009, there have been 16 fires in the settlement, one of which claimed the life of a resident in 2014.

In 2011, the Seoul government decided to designate the area as an urban development zone and evict the settlement, but the proposal failed due to disagreements between local government bodies and residents over their relocation, as well as negotiations over compensation for the land.

-Thailand News (TN)

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