Ruling, oppn parties vow measures to handle aftermath of halloween stampede in Seoul (Ld)

The ruling and opposition parties held emergency response meetings on Sunday to discuss ways to investigate the cause of a deadly stampede in Seoul’s Itaewon district and handle the aftermath of the accident.

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) discussed emergency response plans after at least 151 people had been killed and 82 others injured in Itaewon during Halloween festivities Saturday night, Yonhap news agency reported.

“I offer my deepest condolences to many people who lost their family members from this tragic accident,” PPP interim chief Chung Jin-suk said during the meeting held at the National Assembly.

Chung said the ruling party and the government will make utmost efforts to get the accident under control and come up with follow-up measures, calling for police to promptly identify victims and analyze the exact cause of the accident.

PPP floor leader Joo Ho-young urged fellow lawmakers to suspend political activities and sports events in their constituencies as President Yoon Suk-yeol announced a period of national mourning and ordered the lowering of flags.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) also held an emergency meeting to discuss the crowd crush in downtown Seoul, the deadliest disaster in South Korea since the sinking of the ferry Sewol in 2014 that killed 304.

The DP will set up a body tasked with investigating the accident and push for convening an emergency session of the public administration and security committee to discuss the matter, party spokesperson Kim Eui-kyum said.

“The most important priority lies in recovering damage and preparing related measures,” Kim said in a briefing. “The body will be in charge of the party’s investigation into the accident.”

Ahead of the meeting, DP leader Lee Jae-myung said he was “shocked and devastated” and vowed to make efforts to handle the aftermath of the accident.

“We have to focus on promptly identifying victims and supporting their bereaved families as well as healing and recovery of injured people,” Lee wrote on Facebook. “(The party) should also provide maximum support for police, fire authorities and medical staff.”

DP floor leader Park Hong-geun called for other lawmakers to stand with the party’s efforts to mourn the deaths of victims, console their bereaved families and cooperate with authorities by canceling unnecessary public activities and being careful about their comments about the tragedy.

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