Opinion – Itaewon’s incident should be a wakeup call to Thai authorities to prevent such mishaps happening in Thailand

The tragic incident over the weekend in Itaewon, Seoul is a wakeup call for authorities around the region on how they need to look at ways to respond to emergency and also how party venues need to be in more open areas because what happened in Seoul could happen in any other city as well.

The crush that happened on Saturday night has so far claimed more than 150 lives and nearly 100 more are injured with nearly 2 dozen in critical condition, is one of the many such incidents that has plagued the region.

In Seoul’s narrow party allies of Itaewon, more than 100,000 people gathered to celebrate the Halloween on Saturday that eventually led to many of the revelers being crushed to death as crowds swelled to a point that there was no way one would have figured out who fainted or who may not be able to keep themselves as crowd stood for hours.

This was not the 1st incident in Asia during this month, on October 1st the Indonesian police’s efforts to control crowd at the stadium that was well beyond its capacity, left more than 130 people dead as police used teargas to control the crowd while the stadium which had more than its capacity spectators, had locked out many of the exit doors.

Thailand, which has so far managed to escape any major incident, should learn a thing or two from things that have happened in both Indonesia and South Korea. So far only 1 Thai national has been reported to being among the 150+ people who were killed in Seoul, but this incident can teach the authorities on how to be careful as the party season approaches.

Pent Up Demand for Partying and Going Out

People around the world are looking for excuses to go out and party or just be out to be in the crowd after more than 2-years of lockdown and/or self-restrictions to avoid being in crowds as Covid-19 pandemic left a fear factor among population.

Thailand’s small allies in the likes of party areas of Khao Sarn, Silom, or Ratchada are all prime location for possible mishap like the ones the world was shocked to see over the weekend.

The narrow allies of Khao Sarn which has one main road and various smaller allies that leads to smaller bars and pubs in the Sois are areas that are badly laid out and are breading ground for possible such mishap.

Silom’s various Soi’s that go a few hundred meters from the main road, are packed with bars/pubs that take up nearly the entire road in-front of their shops is another area that has already been highlighted for their poor fire safety records.

These small lanes that are packed to the brim during festive season be it during the New Year celebration or the Songkran are areas that needs to be highlighted to have some kind of crowd control.

Silom’s DJ Station, a haven for LGBT people was earlier this year a spot where a small fire broke out, thankfully it happened during the time the bar was closed but had such an incident happened during the operational hours, a stampede would have surely happened.

Silom Soi 2, which is a small lane with bars on both the left and right of the nearly 100 meters of soi, has only 1 entry and exit point. It is also a soi that has half the exit/entry of the soi blocked as a place for revelers to ‘deposit’ their bags before they enter the soi to go partying.

Any unforeseen incident such as fire/or panic exiting would create a situation of stampede and many would be crushed, like what the world saw in Itaewon.

Party goers are all looking at ways to enjoy themselves after years of staying put and their minds are likely not to be bothered about what safety standards are in place or what fire escape routes are there from the various party venues, but it is the job of the government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) that needs to take a look at these issues and look at ways to possibly control or come out with rules that prevent such an unforeseen incident from happening in our country.

The loss of lives in South Korea and Indonesia should therefore be a wake up call to the Thai government to spring to action to prevent Thailand being on the list of such mishap in the future.

opinion – itaewon’s incident should be a wakeup call to thai authorities to prevent such mishaps happening in thailand

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / A man sits amid the bodies of victims, believed to have suffered cardiac arrest, in the popular nightlife district of Itaewon in Seoul on October 30, 2022. – Dozens of people suffered from cardiac arrest in the South Korean capital Seoul, after thousands of people crowded into narrow streets in the city’s Itaewon neighbourhood to celebrate Halloween, local officials said. (Photo by Yelim LEE / AFP)