A 60-something man in Busan in the early hours of Thursday fell out of the bed and injured himself, shaken not by the 4.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked nearby Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province but ironically by a state-issued emergency mobile alert about the tremor.
The man, who lives in Haeundae-gu, Busan, received the notification, together with its loud warning alarm, on his phone at 5:39 a.m. and fell, injuring his face, resulting in him getting rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment, according to the Busan Metropolitan City Fire & Disaster Headquarters.
The message was actually received nearly an hour after the earthquake occurred at 4:55 a.m., sparking complaints from residents. North Gyeongsang Province, where Gyeonggu is located, sent out its message at around 5:29 p.m., and the Gyeongju Metropolitan Government then sent out a similar message even later at 5:43 a.m.
South Korea sends nationwide emergency text messages when natural disasters occur, accompanied by a loud warning alarm. While the majority of people say they are helpful, there have also been complaints about such messages.
A 2022 survey by the National Disaster Management Research Institute of 3,000 people across the country showed that 74.8 percent of respondents found the messages helpful in case of emergency. But eight percent said that they turned off or blocked the message function, saying that the number of messages makes them redundant or that their content is not important.