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[Focus] Snow economics has trade-offs

Posted January. 10, 2001 14:01,   


Property damage caused by consecutive heavy snowfall Jan. 7 through Jan. 9 are estimated at around 270.6 billion won as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Expenses for snow removal are expected to reach 5 billion won across the country, including 720 million won spent by the City of Seoul and 760 million won spent by Korea Highway Corp. It is also estimated that Korean Air and Asiana Airlines suffered about 15 billion won in losses due to flight cancellations.

Expenses from low-speed operation and traffic jams on snowy expressways and city roads in the country are likely to come to tens of billions of won. Estimating that expenses from traffic jams on nationwide expressways due to heavy snowfall increased 60 to 100 percent.

¡°The combined costs on nationwide expressways and provincial roads will surpass tens of billions of won during the three-day period from Jan. 7 to Jan. 9,¡± said Ahn Kang-Ki, a researcher of the Korea Transport Institute.

According to the statistics released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, greenhouses on 2,533 hectares collapsed across the nation as of 6 p.m. Tuesday. Cattle shed on 23 ha also suffered heavy damage.

In case of the agricultural and fishery market in Karak-dong, Seoul, a daily average of 5,500 tons of fruits and vegetables flowed in, but the quantity fell to nearly half Tuesday. The price of a 20-kilogram box of cucumbers soared 10 percent during the three days from 28,500 won Jan. 6 to 31,500 won Jan. 9.

According to the Korea Water Resources Development Corp., the snow that fell Sunday through Tuesday had the same effect of an average 25 millimeters of rain on dams nationwide, if comparing the snow to rainfall. Of the total, about 30 percent is expected to flow into reservoirs, and it is estimated at about 160 million tons, worth 4 billion won. That will bring a favorable effect on the easing of the winter drought and the purification of the air.

Hwang Jae-Seong jsonhng@donga.com