Lao Leaders Send Condolences After Deadly Tragedy in Seoul

People mourn for victims of Itaewon stampede at a makeshift memorial in Seoul. Photo credit: James Lee/Xinhua

Lao leaders expressed their deepest condolences to their counterparts in the Republic of Korea following the tragic stampede in Seoul’s popular Itaewon district.

According to a latest report, the incident which took place on Saturday evening during Halloween celebrations has claimed at least 154 lives, 149 people were injured with 33 suffering fatal wounds.

At least 26 foreigners were part of the casualties, among them were four Chinese, four Russians, two US Nationals, two Japanese, and one citizen each from France, Australia, Norway, Austria, Vietnam, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Sri Lanka.

Responding to the devastating incident, Laos President, Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, on behalf of the Lao people, delivered a message to Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol.

Mr. Thongloun says “I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic incident that occurred in Itaewon district, Seoul, on October 29, which resulted in numerous deaths and injuries.”

“On behalf of the people of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and on my own behalf, I would like to extend my deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to Your Excellency and through Your Excellency to the people of the Republic of Korea as well as to the bereaved families.”

Laos Prime Minister, Mr. Phankham Viphavanh, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith also issued similar messages to their counterparts, Korean Prime Minister Mr. Han Duck-soo and Foreign Minister Mr. Park Jin respectively.

The incident occurred after a massive crowd poured into a narrow alley in the Itaewon district as people gathered after three years to revel in Halloween festivities.

Since the incident, numerous residents kept pouring in to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial in Itaewon close to the alley where the incident happened. Shops and businesses will be closed for a week as part of a national period of mourning.

This was one of South Korea’s most deadly disasters after the sinking of a ferry in 2014 which claimed the lives of 304 people, most of whom were high school students.