South Korea: Halloween Crowd Crush Kills at Least 150
On Oct. 30, a popular nightlife district of Seoul, South Korea called Itaewon was packed for the first Halloween celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic. The area was expecting around 100 thousand individuals in the neighborhood, but the police were reportedly understaffed. What happened next was a tragedy that not many could have predicted. The streets of Itaewon are slimmer than most, and the large number of people led to a crowd crush in which many people were either trampled or suffocated. One alleyway was the scene where most of the tragedy occurred.
Perhaps the saddest part about the tragedy is that most of those who passed were college-aged students who were just about to start living their adult lives. Crowd crushes and stampedes can be fatal, and the lack of preparation for what to do in one can more often lead to this. South Korea has called a period of national mourning to honor the lives of those who were killed. Many families are still looking for their children, as many of the bodies and individuals in the hospital are unidentified.
One common theory about the lack of preparation in Itaewon relates to the fact that President Yoon Suk-yeol does not live and work out of the Blue House like all other presidents have, which is due to the “bad omens” his shaman said were there. He has extra police escorts with him due to his choice to operate outside of the state house. It is thought that the president’s need for extra police escorts and various protests around Seoul led to the understaffing. It is reported that only 137 cops were assigned to the area as opposed to the approximate 800 cops present before COVID-19.
Frustratingly enough, weeks earlier, popular K-pop boy group BTS had a concert in Busan that had 2,700 security officers present for a crowd half the size. Korean citizens are angry, but many are taking the time to grieve as collective trauma has begun to take over the nation, calling citizens back to the Sewol Ferry tragedy. During that time, 300 mostly high school children were killed due to mismanagement and greed of the ferry company that overcrowded the boat, causing it to sink and capsize. Many of the youth in Korea felt like the government had failed them then, and this sentiment is sadly returning.
Slavin Lawn Comes Alive for First Big BOP Event of the Year
On Sept. 18, Providence College celebrated Prova, hosted by BOP, with a fun carnival theme. There were a bunch of fun things to do scattered across Slavin Lawn, and great snacks to follow it up. Ice cream sandwiches, churros, and mini pancakes were available along with an assortment of carnival snacks like cotton candy and popcorn. There was even a mechanical bull for students to try their luck at!
As one of the first big events hosted by BOP this year, expectations were low. But due to disappointment at last year’s Prova, BOP felt pressure to amp up the event. Myles Johnson ’24, Chair of BOP’s Social Committee, said, “We had less of a turnout than expected last year, so this year I wanted to put an emphasis on Prova, because I wanted to get people there and build momentum as we create new events. On BOP, we have a lot of responsibility to make sure the campus is lively and energetic, and I hope Prova did that.”
BOP takes its first events of the year seriously because they are often the first experiences of student life on campus and the first impression ever for freshmen. Johnson said, “It’s one of those events we rely on a lot to introduce who we are as a board, so I think in my perspective it serves as our welcome to the PC community every year. It’s our first big event, it showcases what we do…A lot of freshmen are looking for their ‘at home’ moment, and I think that’s what I wanted Prova to be.”
One of the highlights of the event was the petting zoo area, which featured alpacas, bunnies, lambs, and goats. Students were able to play with the animals and feed them hay. The adorable animals were great for de-stressing students with those early semester jitters – there’s nothing more relaxing than chilling with a bunch of baby goats! It was a great way to kick off the semester and say goodbye to summer.
Another moment that generated excitement was the dog show, which featured a variety of cute pups showing off their best tricks while winning every student’s heart. The dogs performed a variety of stunts with the trainers, and students were impressed by their high energy and impressive skill. From obstacle courses to racing to frisbee-catching jumps, these dogs could do it all!
BOP also was selling Prova t-shirts at the event and there was a carnival game where one person could win a Squishmallow. There was a limited supply and they went fairly quickly, but it was still a fun game for students to partake in. One student from the Class of 2025 said, “It was a lot of fun! I love events that get everyone outside, especially when the weather is still nice out. The food was so delicious and really hit the spot. I went to bed feeling ready for the week to come.”
Another student from the Class of 2024 said, “I love the food trucks; it lets students who have meal plans have other kinds of food. It’s a real treat for the whole student body, and I think more events should have them! Seriously, I go to most events that have them.”
Overall, students were happy and BOP was pleased with how the event turned out. “It was great! Everything was really successful and a lot of people came, and the food was really good,” Johnson said. “We probably had around 500 people there, when in the past we probably had around 350. Slavin Lawn felt energetic.”
Flooding Causes Major Disruption in the City of Providence
This past Tuesday, Providence experienced extreme flash flooding and a 48-hour rainstorm that caused delays and destruction. I-95 completely flooded over a local bridge, where five cars were stuck. Major traffic delays followed, causing many to arrive late to work or school. Other communities, such as Cranston, reported similar events. The area seems to have accumulated about 11 inches of rain that the soil seems unable to handle. This is all after a severe drought that has plagued all of the Northeast, so the soil had hardened up from the heat, leaving it unable to absorb the water. This caused extreme runoff and flooding.
Many events occurred during the tropical storm. An unoccupied building collapsed from the heavy rain on Monday around Peace Street. Luckily, no one was injured, but it raises some concerns about the stability of the older buildings in the area. Dormitories at Brown University even reported flooding. One family even reported that their pool became heavily polluted from storm runoff. Providence does have multiple polluted bodies of water, so this is an unfortunate reality of what happens when polluted water runs into communities.
The flooding garnered national attention, with an article from the Washington Post being released during the storm. Flooding events like these raise questions about global warming—due to rising water levels, flooding is becoming more common in coastal states. Rising water levels can lead to intense flooding during storms, especially in areas where houses aren’t lifted or when basements aren’t above sea level.
A student from the class of 2025 said, “I don’t know why they didn’t cancel class here… My teacher said they didn’t even know if they would get home safely due to the flooding. Not to mention that commuter students definitely struggled to make it to class both days.” Another student from the class of 2025 said “It was so bad that the buses weren’t even running. I had to wait for the bus for an hour and I had to get to work off campus and Ubers were charging insane prices because of the storm…This was definitely an unusual amount of rain for Rhode Island, and the fact that the storm lasted so long is crazy.”