“I thought you might be interested to learn that the Irish community registered in Korea has now exceeded 900, to be exact 904. This is a very considerable and speedy increase when you consider that there was less than half that number here in 2008 (428).
You will not be surprised to learn that most are involved in education, some 714 or almost 80%. It is possibly higher than this because these numbers are based on the number of E2 visas and do not include Irish spouses of Korean nationals (59) or Irish permanent residents (19) some of whom may also be involved in the education sector.
Thinking about the increase in our community and indeed its geographic spread across Korea, is a good opportunity to think too about contingency planning. You will recall I have been in touch with you some time ago. For those who have arrived since then, I attached my previous message below.
I would appeal to anyone who has not done so to ensure that you are registered with the Embassy, in particular giving us mobile phone and landline numbers, skype addresses, location and next of kin. If you are registered with the Embassy, but your details have changed, please contact us with your new address and landline. Your skype address is useful because the internet can often work when phone lines and mobile communications are down. Please pass this message on to anyone who may have recently arrived and/or who has not registered.
I would like to reiterate that this information is for our purposes only and will not be shared with any other national authority.
The Embassy is currently reviewing and up dating its contingency plan, as a part of a worldwide exercise by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure that we are ready to respond to major emergencies. If you wish to input, we would be delighted to hear from you.
The Nuclear Security Summit next week and the anniversary of the disaster at Fukushima certainly put us in mind of a possible event here at one of Korea’s nuclear power plants. Indeed the difficulties at the Gori-1 plant at Busan last January underline the need for contingency planning. I list below the location of the five nuclear power plants in Korea and request that anyone living nearby (perhaps within a 50Km radius) let us know.
None of this should be read as an alarm but merely, as the phrase suggests, ‘contingency’ planning. The more complete and updated the Embassy’s register, the more likely we are to be in a position to help you or reassure your relatives of your safety. If you have registered with us but have now left Korea, please let us know.
Nuclear Power Stations, Korea
Gori Gijang-kun, Busan
New Gori Gijang-kun, Busan
Wolsung Gyungju-si, Guyngbuk
Youngkwang Hampyung-kun, Jeonnam
Wooljin Wooljin-kun, Gyungbuk
Responding to Emergencies [as issued 28 May 2010]
In light of the current escalation of tensions between North and South Korea and the uncertainty of what may happen next, it might be useful to provide information on how to respond to an emergency. You may find the following helpful. If you have any ideas or suggestions, we would be delighted to receive them.
(i) The first step for Irish citizens is to ensure that your passport is up-to-date. The second step is register with the Embassy. Registration is simple. Click on www.embassyofireland.or.kr
and then click ‘Registering with the Embassy.’ Having information on how to send messages to you and/or to contact you is absolutely vital in the event of a sudden-onset emergency.
Based on the latest annual statistics available from the Korea Immigration Service we know that there are more than four hundred Irish who live in the Republic of Korea but only slightly more than half that figure appears on the Embassy’s Citizens’ Register. I would urge you to encourage anyone who has not registered with the Embassy to please do so. There may be concerns about confidentiality but I assure you that this information is not shared and is used solely by the Embassy.
(ii) What advice is given in an Emergency very much depends on the kind of emergency and what the authorities are doing or planning in response i.e. whether it is natural or man-made, where it is imminent or underway, whether it requires a large movement of population and so on.
There is an ‘Emergency’ side bar on the Embassy’s website for general guidance. For example in areas prone to emergencies or where there may be a need to move quickly in uncertain circumstances, it is often recommended to have a ‘grab bag’ readied containing vital documents and essential supplies (suggested items for inclusion are listed).
(iii) Aside obviously from monitoring ongoing situations, the Embassy stays in close touch with the EU delegation here, other missions and with the Korean authorities. The Embassy should be your first port of call if you are seeking advice. In an emergency if contact with the Embassy is not possible, the Department of Foreign Affairs operates a Consular Assistance Unit in Dublin which provides advice, support and assistance to Irish citizens in emergency situations and to family members in Ireland who are concerned about the welfare of an Irish citizen abroad.
The Unit operates during normal Irish office hours (Monday-Friday). You can make contact with the Unit by telephoning +353 1 408 2000. Outside normal office hours, an Emergency Duty Officer is available at all other times (including weekends), 365 days a year (the contact number is the same). The Embassy also provides a 24 hours service (016247 6455). Please be advised that the Emergency Duty Officer should only be contacted in the event of a genuine emergency. If your query is not urgent, please wait until the next working day to contact the Embassy or making contact with the Consular Assistance Unit.
(iv) In the event of an emergency, the Department of Foreign Affairs can mobilize its Crisis Centre. It has done this on a number of occasions for example in response to 9/11and the 2006 crisis in the Lebanon. During an emergency, the Crisis Centre liaises with relevant missions abroad and national authorities, is manned 24 hours and issues free-phone numbers to members of the public in Ireland to trace relatives. The Department can also send members of staff to the site of the emergency to assist. The Travel Advice Section of the Department’s website contains further useful information (www.dfa.ie).
I hope this information is useful and reassuring. Please feel free to forward any comments and please also encourage anyone you know who has not registered with the Embassy to do so. “