Life in Korea: emergency evacuation plans from South Korea

This was originally published on in 2010. 

April 2013 Koreabridge update includes some fixed broken links.  If anyone has additional information, please comment below. 

UPDATED 3 June 2010: Additional information from the Irish embassy added.

UPDATED 27 May 2010: More information about Canada's plans - HT to Len in the comments - and additional information about plans for Americans not in Seoul.

With tensions between North and South Korea being what they are, it's a good idea to be aware of your country's evacuation plans - or to make them yourself.

For U.S. citizens: The US Embassy has a plan in place. There are evacuation points across South Korea based on where you live. If living in Seoul, for example, you'll need to find your way to the Jamsil Sports Complex (Sports Complex station, line 2) or the Mokdong Ice Rink (Omokgyo station, line 5, exits 2 or 3) for meeting and potential evacuation.

  • If you're north or east of Seoul (northern Gyeonggi-do or Gangwon-do) come to the same places that Seoulites do (see above).
  • If in Pyeongtaek, Daejeon, or elsewhere in Gyeonggi-do, head to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.
  • If in Daegu, Busan, Gwangju, or elsewhere in southern South Korea, head to Camp George in Daegu, Camp Carroll in Waegwan, or Jinhae Naval Base in Chinhae.
  • If you live in Songtan or Kunsan, you already know about the military operations in those towns - just head there.

For Canadian citizens: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has some information about evacuation, but this page details the plan, along with what to expect. Expect to team up with the Americans in a time of crisis, thanks to a global agreement to help each other in times of crisis. You'll want to register to know what's going on during evacuation times, though.

For South African citizens: The South African embassy in South Korea website doesn't provide any information about evacuation plans. This might be one reason to call them up and ask - 02-792-4855 is the number to contact according to their website.

For British citizens: The British Embassy in Seoul's website doesn't detail any evacuation plans, but there are plenty of details for other specific issues while living in Korea. If interested in learning more, call the switchboard at 02-3210-5500.

For Australian citizens: The Australian Embassy in Seoul's website doesn't provide any information about evacuation plans. For more information, call the embassy at 02-2003-0100.

For New Zealand citizens: The New Zealand Embassy in Seoul's website doesn't provide any information about evacuation plans. For more information, call the embassy at 02-3701-7700.

For Irish citizens: The Embassy of Ireland's website provides some information about what to do in case of emergency, and advises Irish citizens to register or check out the Department of Foreign Affairs. While there is an evacuation plan, it's not published on the website. For more information, call the embassy at 02-774-6455.

No matter what country you're from, invasion from or war with North Korean changes the whole 'living in South Korea' deal. In the past, it has been easy to dismiss the North as many of the locals do - but when the local population gets visibly worried, I do too. At the risk of sounding like your mom, a few basic things should be done:

  • Keep your important documents in one easy-to-grab place. We're talking birth certificates, passport, college diplomas, etc. etc. If SHTF (sh!t hits the fan) these are the papers you'll need to repatriate yourself. Get a durable folder - those little paper / card stock ones don't hold up very well. Those zipper pouches that zip around an A4-sized document are decent.
  • Register yourself with your nation's embassy. Unless you really want to stay off the grid, this is the easiest way for the government to find you when you want to be found, and who to call in case SHTF. Click on your embassy's link above - they all have a way to register your stay in Korea with their office.
  • Make an emergency bag - the same sort of thing you made before Y2K. Little things like non-perishable food, water, important medications, first aid kit, extra money, a blanket, flashlight, radio, candles, matches, garbage bags, a knife, duct tape, and playing cards (got to pass the time somehow) will go a long way if SHTF.
  • Catch up with friends and family in your home country. Keep them in the loop in case they're not up on the latest news coming from Korea.

Readers, are you concerned about living / teaching in Korea? Have you made any emergency evacuation plans?

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe - 2010

This post was originally published on my blog, Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.



Re: Life in Korea: emergency evacuation plans from South Korea

The link in the article, "Life in Korea: emergency evacuation plans from South Korea", for U.S. citizens is not working.  I would appreciate it if someone could provide the correct link with access to the plan for those living in South Korea.  This is an extremely important link, especially considering what is being said by North Korea druing this time.  It is imperative that U.S. citizens know and have access to this plan before any kind of emergency hits.  Thank you for anyone for your help!

Re: Life in Korea: emergency evacuation plans from South Korea

I've updated some of think broken links above.  I have heard (but not confirmed) that the U.S. embassy no longer publishes specific evacuation locations, but encourages people to subscribe to their email service and check the site for specific instruction in case of evacuation.  If anyone has more details, please comment below.