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Korean tourists stranded in Guam to return to Korea

Posted May. 29, 2023 08:15,   

Updated May. 29, 2023 08:15


About 3,200 Korean tourists who visited Guam, a Pacific resort before the Buddha's birthday holiday, were stranded by Typhoon Mawar, which hit the area Tuesday and Wednesday last week, and are suffering from airport closures and power outages. As the situation prolongs, more people are complaining about deteriorating health.

“My mother has only two days’ worth of diabetes and blood pressure medications, so she splits them in half,” said Kang Su-jeong (28), who came on a family trip to celebrate her mother’s 60th birthday. “She complains of pain in the right lower abdomen, and I am very worried that it might be appendicitis.” “There is no water to drink because the bottled water has run out,” said a 34-year-old surnamed Shin from Suseong-gu, Daegu, who came to Guam on a prenatal trip with her husband a week ago. “I’m experiencing stress-induced dyspnea and severe cramps, so I am concerned about the fetus.”

It's been four days since the typhoon passed, but Guam International Airport is still trying to clear the area of water on the flooded runway so planes can land and take off again. Guam International Airport announced on Friday that operation would resume on Tuesday at the earliest, but there has been no further notice.

Isolated tourists are urging the Korean government to come up with measures to take them back to their home country while communicating with each other and those in Korea on Internet communities and KakaoTalk open chat rooms. Some tourists had requested earlier, “Please help us go back to Korea by the route of Saipan by ship,” and diplomatic authorities reviewed the possibility. Still, it was not materialized because the ferry service connecting Guam and Saipan was found to have been suspended for a long time.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is urging the Guam authorities to resume international airport operations as early as possible. “The Guam authorities are trying to bring the airport back to normal so they can reopen it for operation earlier than Tuesday,” said an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There are reports that aircraft operations may resume on Monday at the earliest.

Government authorities have set up three temporary shelters in Guam to accommodate Korean tourists. The temporary shelter is said to have bottled water and emergency food supplies provided by local residents. Since Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been operating a temporary clinic with the help of a Korean doctor.

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