S Korean schools shut over radiation fears

2011-04-07 11:00
Seoul - Dozens of South Korean schools cancelled classes on Thursday and North Koreans were urged to stay indoors over fears that rain carried radioactive material from Japan's stricken nuclear plant.

More than 130 elementary schools and kindergartens in Gyeonggi province surrounding the South's capital Seoul cancelled or cut classes after rain began falling.

The provincial education office had told schools on Wednesday to cancel or shorten classes due to "growing anxiety among students and parents over conflicting claims on the safety of radiation exposure".

Schools in remote areas, where students have a long walk to class, were particularly encouraged to cancel activities. At institutions that stayed open, teachers were advised to suspend outdoor activities.

Concern grew in the South, one of the nearest countries to Japan, after the weather agency said on Monday that radioactive material from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may be carried to the peninsula by southeasterly winds.

The amount of radioactive material in the rainfall is too tiny to pose any health threat, the prime minister's office said on Thursday, calling for education offices to refrain from "making parents nervous".

Sporting events cancelled

But complaints from parents mounted on the website of Seoul city's education office, which refused to scrap classes and called for calm.

"Please order class cancellation. I'm worried to death about my kid and can't sleep," said one posting.

Education authorities in North Chungcheong province south of Gyeonggi postponed football, baseball and other sporting events.

North Korea also aired television appeals to people to shelter from the rain or to take a thorough shower if soaked.

In a programme aired on Wednesday night, state TV urged people to arm themselves with raincoats and boots as well as umbrellas on rainy days, the South's Yonhap news agency reported.

"Please cover farm vegetables with plastic wrap and don't let livestock wander around under the rain," said a health official who appeared in the latest of a series of TV programmes on radiation hazards aired this week.

Radioactive material including caesium was found in the North's cities including the capital Pyongyang but the amount was too small to pose a health threat, state TV reported on Tuesday according to Yonhap.

Read more on:    south korea  |  japan  |  north korea  |  nuclear  |  japan earthquake

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The moon moves into your sign today emphasising your busy mind. It may be hard to sit still as you have a restless and slightly...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.