SIGNIS World Congress to go ahead next week in wake of flooding in Seoul

“We still look forward to welcoming our members and helping them to connect and enhance relationships among each other”

The SIGNIS World Congress (SWC2022) will go ahead in Seoul next week in the wake of floods in the South Korean capital that killed at least nine people this week.

“We still look forward to welcoming our members and helping them to connect and enhance relationships among each other,” said Francis Kim Seug-wal, general director of SWC2022.

The global gathering of Catholic journalists and communicators will be held at Sogang University in Seoul from August 15 to 18.

SIGNIS is a Catholic lay ecclesial movement for professionals in the communication media, including press, radio, television, cinema, video, media education, internet, and new technology.

Organizers announced that preparations are in progress for the gathering, especially on the metaverse platform, after SIGNIS Korea signed a deal with GG56 Korea, a blockchain-based big data company, in December.

On August 8, the organizers announced that participants who are unable to attend in person can register and obtain online attendance information for SWC2022 on this webpage.

Metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. In science fiction, it is often described as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets.

“We welcome both those who can attend in person and those participating online,” said Francis Kim Seung-wal in an earlier interview.

Organizers of the SIGNIS World Congress (SWC) 2022 meet with Archbishop Peter Chung Soon-Taick of Seoul on February 16 to discuss preparations for the event. (Photo supplied)

South Korea floods kill nine

At least nine people were killed and seven others missing in South Korea after record downpours flooded major roads, metro stations and homes, officials said Wednesday.

The rain that began Monday is the heaviest since South Korea’s weather observations began 115 years ago, according to President Yoon Suk-yeol, who apologized for the “inconveniences.”

Images shared on social media earlier this week showed people wading through waist-deep water and overflowing metro stations.

Seoul’s posh Gangnam district was particularly hard hit, with cars left half submerged.

“There are a total of 16 casualties, including nine deaths and seven missing,” an official at the Interior Ministry told AFP.

In all, around 600 people have been affected, he said, with many forced to leave their homes.

Among the nine victims, three died while trapped in their flooded semi-basement apartment, known as a banjiha, according to the ministry.

Local reports say the victims were a teenager, her mother and her aunt.

Another victim died while removing a tree that had fallen onto a sidewalk, and is believed to have been electrocuted.

Another died after a landslide buried his home in the mountainous Gangwon Province.

Cars damaged by flood water are seen on the street after heavy rainfall at Gangnam district in Seoul on August 9, 2022. Subway stations and major roads were under water in the South Korean capital Seoul after record-breaking rains caused severe flooding, with at least seven people dead and seven more missing, officials said. (Photo by YONHAP / AFP)

President Yoon, who on Tuesday visited the banjiha apartment, acknowledged South Koreans have “suffered a lot of damage.”

At a separate government meeting, he told officials to pay special attention to the most vulnerable.

“Those who struggle financially or with physical difficulties are bound to be more vulnerable to natural disasters,” he said.

Yoon’s approval rating has plummeted to just 24 percent since he took office in May, according to the latest Gallup Korea poll. He is facing criticism for not going to the government’s emergency control center when the downpour started.

Local media reported his absence was due to flooding around his house, but his office denied the claim, saying he decided to stay home as his team already had the response in hand. – with a report from AFP

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